Order, Passion, Becoming


Aleksandra Dulic and Kenneth Newby
Produced by the Centre for Culture and Technology, University of British Columbia

This dynamic artwork engages with the metaphor of the mosaic, a defining characteristic of Canadian ethno-cultural identity, with an ecological perspective. The mosaic as a metaphor implies that the pieces are static and separate from each other; in contrast, ecology as a metaphor implies that the parts are evolving and interdependent. The artwork links these two metaphors to reflect and depict our contemporary multicultural and multilingual reality through an expanded framework of diversity by including natural landscapes and sounds within the cultural and verbal richness of the Canadian environment. The composition of such a mosaic may help us view environmental challenges as not simply problems of science and technology but as core social, cultural and spiritual concerns.

Through the composition of dynamic images the show expresses the merging of humans and nature. Meaning, both broad and focused, is constructed from layers of portraiture based on a set of faces drawn from the beautifully diverse community characteristic of British Columbia. The work is reflective of our contemporary cultural reality and depicts people intertwined with the materials and landscapes of our natural environment. It weaves cultural identity through merging ethno-cultural diversity with a sense of place. Approaching the cultural framework holistically may help catalyze an evolution in understanding of cultural diversity from a cross-cultural framework to one inclusive of ecological communities. This exhibition is an attempt to depict an expanded community, where ecological principles take an active part in cultural representation, permeating software design and composition processes. In the artwork, culturally diverse voices are woven into nature images and sounds through symbolic multimedia elements that allow participants to experience this dynamic community. The media sculpture is composed of multivocal images distributed in space and time. The exhibition includes four artworks that together build the complex mosaic image: Order of Passions, where each broken mirror piece reflects a fraction a different person that together creates a composite face; Leaves, a forest of linguistically complex voices that together build an image of diversity; Becoming World, a generative system for a huge variety of hybrid personas, a merging of the human and the world we inhabit; There Must be Something in the Water, an interaction of human and technological presence in a natural ecosystem.