Australia’s first permanent regional multimedia arts pavilion – The Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima (nicknamed MAP mima) located in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales – will open to the public in the spring, with a series of public events free and 10 new commissions from Australian artists including Hiromi Tango, PluginHUMAN, Lottie Consalvo and musician Andy Firth.
Each new commission explores the region’s unique history, culture and landscape and celebrates Lake Macquarie as a cultural center for contemporary art and performance.
Designed as a flexible and high-tech multi-arts platform, the MAP mima will host throughout the year a program of cultural events including national and international contemporary art installations, digital art screenings, live performances and music. Located an hour’s drive north of Sydney, on the shores of Lake Macquarie in Speers Point Park, the architectural pavilion complements the award-winning Lake Macquarie Museum of Art and Culture and is part of the Lake Arts Precinct.
MAP mima has an architectural language of bold and imposing forms and is based on the winning concept of architectural student Samantha Bailey and was built in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Built Environment at Newcastle University . The pavilion takes its name from the word Awabakal mima (pronounced me’ma) which means “to stay”. The name of MAP mima is an active invitation for visitors to engage with the Awabakal country they stand on and recognize the thousands of years of knowledge handed down by the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Lake Macquarie. and across the country.
Overseen by Jacqui Hemsley, Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism for Lake Macquarie City Council, MAP mima is designed to encourage cultural participation in contemporary art outside of traditional venues.
Hemsley advises “MAP mima is an ideal springboard for emerging artists and a platform to present alternative productions to new audiences. Our aim is to present engaging experimental works and public programs that create a connection between place, art and audience that visitors will not find anywhere else.
At the heart of MAP mima’s hyper-faceted design is The Cube, a central media gallery for a full-wall media experience. A large hydraulic awning opens up the Cube to create a covered stage for the live performance that leads to a cobbled courtyard and the park. Another design feature of the pavilion is The Node, a trapezoidal structure jutting out from the brick facade towards the lake, carrying a large indoor-outdoor projection screen visible in the park. A cutting-edge soundscape created by strategically placed speakers around the building, provides a platform for a rotating program of works by artists.
New artist commissions to be unveiled at MAP mima include:
- A new commission from famous Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango, titled Mima: Beautiful Space, responds to both the pavilion’s Awabakal name and the homophone Japanese reading of MI and MA meaning “beautiful space”. Featured within MAP mima, Tango’s illuminated artwork gently shines on the walls of the building, creating a beacon to welcome visitors to the pavilion and announce its arrival.
- A series of tiles painted by famous Australian artist Noel McKenna that pay homage to man’s best friend and celebrate the place as a space suitable for dogs.
- A large-scale work by local artists Kira Jovanovski and Claire Lavis commissioned for the exterior of the building. The work represents, in Morse code on the masonry of the facade, the declaration of commitment of the Macquarie Lake City Council to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the Awabakal language.
- Two new works presented in the pavilion, titled Dawn and Awa, were created in collaboration with local knowledge holders Awabakal. Dawn is a 360-degree immersive experience created by artist Worimi Luke Russell with artist Donna Gayford McLaren and heavyweights of illuminart projection art. The immersive projection explores language, the natural beauty of the Macquarie Lake shoreline, and the sun rising over Awabakal country. A second work, created in collaboration with local knowledge holders Awabakal, is called Awa and brings together stories of saltwater and freshwater – much like the shores of Lake Macquarie. In this work, Indigenous artists Donna Gayford McLaren and Saretta Fielding explore how traditional Awabakals lived by the lake and how contemporary Indigenous experiences interact with the stories of their ancestors. Awa, which means plain or flat surface, takes its name from Awaba, the traditional name for Lake Macquarie.
- More than 80 meters of illuminated catenary will perform for the public as they enter the new arts district. This public artwork, celebrating the experimental nature of the building, is a collaboration between Lake Macquarie City Council and the University of Sydney Design Lab. Led by Dr Luke Hespanhol, students undertaking studies in digital place creation have developed a public art response along the Speers Point Promenade that experiments with interactive digital approaches to artistic creation and place creation.
The main commissioned exhibition is an immersive 360-degree video installation titled Emerge by PluginHUMAN. The vast enveloping imagery was created through the growing biopolymer sculptures from local materials. The projection experience is accompanied by tiny original sculptures in a series of discovery ports in the foyer.
To celebrate this new space, Newcastle composer and musician Andy Firth has been commissioned to write the Lake Macquarie Marching Band. The music complements a big band with didgeridoo and synthesizer and is a testament to the architecture, stature and significance of the cultural initiative launched by Lake Macquarie City Council. Andy Firth and the big band will perform on the MAP mima stage to mark the public opening of the pavilion on a date to be confirmed this spring.
The project is funded by the Government of New South Wales through the Regional Culture Fund in association with Lake Macquarie City Council.
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