Sounds Like It: A Cross-Cultural Conversation

Dr. Johanna Hallsten
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This paper will explore our need for translation, both literally and metaphorically, within intercultural communication, via site-specific installations occurring in two places simultaneously - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Kunming Institute of Botany, China. Drawing attention to the open-ended processes of exchange and mediation taking place between the participant, botanist and artist. How do we go about understanding, even starting to decipher the ‘now of there’ and how does this relate to the ‘now of here’? Where do we find ourselves in this migration of information and experiences? Are we to set up camp in the in-between space of the two locations, hover between with one foot on each side of the invisible boundary separating us from there and the there from us. Is there any real boundary between us and ‘the there’, or is it rather a continuous flow of matter that binds us together, an undercurrent that allows us to relate to the other. This invisible cord becomes highlighted through the process of communication taking place over the internet. Showing us that there is a physicality to this process/communication, we don’t simply find ourselves detached from the ‘now of there’, it transgresses the boundary and flows into our ‘now of here’. A movement of information that gets thrown, transported from there to here in a instant, situating us in a limbo that exists in several temporal zones at once. Thus a new ‘here’ loci is created, it is a virtual one which is grounded in the materiality of the local geographical site. The present ‘here loci’ is temporal and shifts it’s grounds and identity at the whim of the surfer. The paper will thus explore the interaction between the participant, location, new virtual space and the art work in situ.

Keywords: Site-specific art installation, Sound, Interactive, Participatory, Internet, Cross-cultural
Stream: Art in Communities, Audiences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Johanna Hallsten

Lecturer, School of Art and Design
Fine Art, Loughborough University


In June 2004 I was appointed as a full-time Lecturer in Fine Art at Loughborough University. I successfully completed my Ph.D. in Fine Art and Philosophy in spring 2004, at Staffordshire University. During my Ph.D. I taught part-time on the fine art course at Staffordshire University. Throughout my academic career I have been attending conferences worldwide (e.g. China in May 2004, and Finland in 2002 and 2005), presenting papers. Two recent conference papers have been accepted for publication (Wuhan University Press, China, Aug 05 and Contemporary Aesthetics, USA, Dec 05). Further to this I have exhibited both nationally and internationally, with an exhibition coming up in Helsinki in early 2006, together with a show at Three Colts Gallery, London 2006. I am represented in the Föreningen för Grafisk konst collection, currently situated in the Modern Museum of Art in Stockholm and am regularly commissioned for print editions.

Ref: A06P0239