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Our next talk was taken by fine artist Vicki Kerr. Vicki has just completed her fine art PHD at Goldsmiths basing it on air travel and airspace and the complex system enabling air traffic control to function but looking also at external and internal vulnerabilities and threats.

She has previously explore these ideas in her past work but felt the PHD would be a good way to further explore her ideas. Her main themes include human nature, history and memory and risk and catastrophe.

The first work she showed us was images of flowers in the Botanical Gardens of Aukland. The aim of these images was to show aesthetic and to remake nature, the dress pins in the work, a link to her mother, hold the image in place, reshaping it.

The next image was a powerful broken wall that linked to the infrastructural crash of a city due to corporate and high street bank.

Vicki then showed us four videos based on her PHD. The first of which, called The Antarctic Experience Video, looked at a New Zealand air disaster. Air New Zealand were once doing 14 flights over the Antarctic in order for sightseers to be able to accessibly visit. Unfortunately one of the places crashed into a volcano. It was turned into a controversial cover up between human error and computer fault. The video aimed to show how our relationship would change with technology in air traffic control. It was set up as a triptych using the calming voice of the tourist guide with videos of the airplane in motion shot by people on the plane. The images stayed calming however the voice got more sinister talking about the crash.

The next video looked at the voices of air traffic controllers contrasted with scenes of London. This video enabled us to see how effective and quickly landing a plane is whilst being emerged in this slow moving panorama. Vicki’s aim was to highlight the complexity of an operation such as this and to show that there can be silences and issues in every descent.

The third video explored peoples videos of airplanes found on the internet and she mirrored them to create an emersion video. This video, called Luft, would help the viewer to experience how it would be descending in a plane. We can see the wing and the ground the whole journey.

The final video was shown to us briefly as a clip but it showed air traffic controllers talking about their jobs. This was contrasted with archives of air traffic control taken by the BBC.

She also showed us a sound piece that was a recording of a plane descending into an airport. It was then made into a music score. In the sound piece a violinist plays the music whilst accompanied by the wind tunnel at Farnborough. I thought this was the most exciting piece because it was something different, it was a more original thought process and completion of work because it used her own footage.

She explained briefly that her new project was based on the new Heathrow runway village Hammondsworth with Ian Stonehouse.

Although I found the talk interesting however her language was complex as it was catered to PHD level. I found her also quite challenging to understand as she was reading off her paper. I thought her work was very in depth and well thought through but it was not something I enjoyed as much as other pieces I have seen in the artist talk recently however it was interesting to see how high a level PHD is.

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Source: http://cargocollective.com/vickikerr/Vicki-Kerr

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