[ISEA2018] Artists Statement: Tracey Benson & Josiah Jordan — Ancient Journeys: Waters of the Past

Artists Statement

Art, Science & Us sub-programme

Journey of the Ancients is a collaboration between Tracey Benson and Josiah Jordan. The project explores the iconography of the sea and natural environment as a juxtaposition to ancient runic symbols. These symbols represent a culture and language lost as well as a ‘proxy’ for ancestral links to the old country. This video installation features an audio composition created by Josiah using Tracey’s DNA. The raw DNA data was translated into MIDI notes and assigned instrumentation for each chromosome relevant to Tracey’s Norse ancestry. The resulting composition connects the audience to this ancestral link, while providing an abstract space for contemplation. Journey of the Ancients seeks to create a meditative space for audiences, one that takes them on a journey to the inner world of deep contemplation. Although the material is a reference to Tracey’s ancestral connections to Norse culture, the imagery and sounds are intended to evoke connection much more broadly. The use of the Runes is both as a means to connect ancient knowledge but also as a pathway to greater earth awareness. Each of the 24 runes from the Elder Futhark responds to an aspect of nature – both the natural world and our human nature.  traceybenson.com/category/art-projects/waters-of-the-past-art-projects/

  • Tracey Benson is an artist, social scientist and researcher based in Canberra, Australia. She focuses on issues related to wellbeing, sustainability behaviour change, energy futures and water. She explores a range of media including open data, augmented and virtual reality, often collaborating with cultural owners and scientists. Tracey is also a part-time academic at the Faculty of Art and Design and a Professional Associate of the Institute of Applied Ecology at University of Canberra. Tracey has a PhD from ANU and is currently undertaking a Masters of Applied Science by Research at the Institute of Applied Ecology.
  • Josiah Jordan started his career as an aerospace engineer, designing and building a space-bound solar imaging camera at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, Colorado, USA. After 3 years in aerospace he switched paths to software development, creating virtual aircraft configuration software for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Moving to New Zealand in 2009, he most recently was focused on creating cloud-based scalable render farms and a rich web application platform for the Internet of Things space. He now owns and operates Lobaki, a company specializing in teaching VR development to at-risk youth, and creating commercial VR experiences. In his spare time he collaborates on artistic projects, with a focus on DNA music and VR experiences.