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Take me with you

BY Zilla and Brook | 07-Jan-2020
Artist collaborators Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine are bringing the profoundly touching 360- degree stop-motion VR film PASSENGER to ArtSpace at Realm from 15 February to 26 April 2020, as part of their new exhibition, Take me with you.
Venue: ArtSpace at Realm
Address: 179 Maroondah Highway Ringwood
Date: 15/2/20 - 26/4/20
Time: 9am-5pm
Ticket: Free
Buy / Ticket: https://bit.ly/35xYfjo
Web: https://www.isobelandvan.com/
Still from Passenger, 2019, courtesy of Film Camp.
Premiering internationally at the 76th Venice Film Festival, nationally at Melbourne International Film Festival, and winner of the Virtual Reality Award - Best Film at the 60th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, PASSENGER will be accompanied by a showcase of the artists’ major installation works and career highlights. Charming characters, sets and behind-the-scenes footage which has never been seen before will offer a rare insight into their practice across installation, film, animation, virtual reality and media art.

Over the course of a single taxi ride, audiences will be guided through a new terrain that recreates and investigates the geographic and visual dislocation of arriving somewhere unfamiliar and begin the journey of finding a new home in a foreign land. “In this era of global refugee crises, and with an increasingly transitory global population, PASSENGER asks the viewer to consider feelings associated with migrating to a new country.

We create a surreal shape-shifting world, familiar in texture but with an unknowable logic,” said Isobel Knowles “All the built environments in PASSENGER, the suburban streets and industrial estates, are made from simple materials like fabric and cardboard, immersing the viewer in an unpretentious tactile environment inside a contemporary digital experience.” PASSENGER is the product of nearly two years of labor, including a six-month shoot. Using long, practical sets and a compact 360 ̊ camera, the pair shot over 8000 frames of footage, moving through more than 60 meters of space at 5mm intervals. The result is one of only a few stop-motion 360̊ ambisonic films in existence.

“Embarking on our latest project, PASSENGER was a journey into the unknown for us as filmmakers, in parallel to the journey the narrative takes the viewer on. We wanted to translate our experience constructing immersive worlds and telling unique stories in VR, learning a new language of 360 storytelling to create an experience that uses emotion and empathy to connect with viewers”, said Van Sowerwine. Take me with you will also present stop-motion short Clara, which won a special mention at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, along with You were in my dream, winner of the 2010 Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award, (Australia’s most significant prize for new media art) and part of the QAG/GOMA collection (Brisbane).

It’s A Jungle In Here (2011), award of distinction at Ars Electronica, 2012 and Out In The Open (2016) are also not to be missed. Isobel and Van are known for technologically adventurous, elaborately detailed animated storytelling through film and immersive installations. The dynamic collaboration between these two artists has produced four ambitious interactive animated artworks and four emotionally engaging stop-motion short films that have moved audiences all over the world.

Exhibition location and opening hours This exhibition is presented as part of the innovative and engaging Ringwood arts precinct program for 2020. Find out more about our programs at artsinmaroondah.com.au

Written, Directed and Animated by
Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine
Produced by Philippa Campey, Film Camp
Principal funding from Screen Australia
International Sales by Diversion Cinema.

Biography

Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine have collaborated together since 2001 when they met at art school, first making narrative-based stop-motion films, then moving into installation and interactivity, investigating ways to engage viewers physically and emotionally with their work. Recently they have created site-specific narratives, immersing themselves and working with different communities.

They have just completed Passenger (2019), a stop-motion VR experience set in a taxi that explores ideas of migration.

Out In The Open (2016), a site-specific installation that uses puppet animation, was inspired by and based around the community of traders at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, and was created as a stand-alone film in 2017. In 2015 they collaborated to create Dwelling, an outdoor performance based work that engaged with communities in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, blending performance, documentary video and animation.

Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Out In The Open premiered at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and is currently showing at international film festivals including Aesthetica Short Film Festival, UK, and New Chitose Airport Animation Festival, Japan. Dwelling was nominated for a Green Room award for Design and Realisation in Contemporary Performance. Their 2011 work, It’s a jungle in here won an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Arts category of the 2012 Prix Ars Electronica. Their installation You Were In My Dream, commissioned by Experimenta, won the 2010 Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award, Australia’s most significant prize for new media art. They also won the People’s Choice Award.

In 2008 their animated film Doll Stories: Mary was shown as part of the International Digital Art exhibition in Beijing. In 2006 their installation Expecting was exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art, London and FACT, Liverpool. Expecting toured around Australia in 2004/2005 as part of the Experimenta: House of Tomorrow exhibition. Their previous work Play With Me was exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the Anne Landa Award, the first award-exhibition for the moving image and new media in Australia. Two of their works were shown at Media City Seoul 2004, the Korean Biennale of New Media Art.

In 2004 Van and Isobel made the film Clara, a 7 minute stop-motion animation. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as one of nine short films in the Official Selection, where it won a Special Mention. Clara went on to win a Golden Hugo for Best Animation at the 2005 Chicago Film Festival. In January 2006 Clara screened at the Sundance Film Festival.