We’re the only university to offer an accredited art subject at the National Gallery of Victoria, offering students a rare opportunity to learn from NGV curators and education staff.
Now in its fourth year, Summer at the NGV invites students to take a deeper look inside the NGV’s major summer exhibition and permanent collection.
In 2017, students had the opportunity to study more than 600 works from one of Britain’s most influential living artists, David Hockney.
Who is Hockney?
‘Hockney is an artist who has captured the imagination of generations across the globe,’ La Trobe University Visual Arts Senior Lecturer Dr Vincent Alessi said at the launch.
‘From his early LA-inspired swimming pool works to his portraits and majestical landscapes, he has been an artist who has to quote the curator and writer Henry Geldz, “proclaimed a higher ambition in his work: to compete with the history of art rather than with members of his own generation”.’
Dr Alessi said the 79 year old artist has always been a ground-breaker and the current NGV exhibition showcases his recent innovative use of iPad digital technology ‘to create wonderful large-scale representations of the landscape environment of places such as Yosemite National Park in the US and Yorkshire in the UK, his place of birth.’
We as a university love bold ideas that push the boundaries and tackle the big issues of our time, and we believe that the arts are the perfect platform for exploring social, cultural and political themes.
In addition to offering our students unique industry experience and connection, each year we create innovative technology to enhance the gallery visitor’s experience and demonstrates La Trobe’s expertise across many disciplines.
During the 2015-16 Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition, we developed an innovative technology, Thoughtography, that showed participants how their mind sees art. Participants were shown artwork from the exhibition while wearing a special dry electrode electroencephalogram (EEG) headset that measured the electrical impulses coming from the frontal lobe of their brain. Each person also wore noise cancelling headphones that filled their ears with white noise, so the only stimulation for their brain was selected pieces of art by Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. A special algorithm then interpreted the brainwave data to create each person’s thoughtograph in real time, providing a unique ‘finger print’ image of how their mind sees art.
The Thoughtography installation was recognised by Australia’s two leading awards programs, winning the Australian Marketing Institute’s 2016 Awards for Marketing Excellence (National Sponsorship Marketing Award) and Mumbrella’s 2016 BEFest Awards (Best Use of Experiential).
This year we’ve created Living Landscapes, where visitors are invited to pen their own iPad tree creation inspired by Hockney’s style and colours. Visitors then move their iPad over a virtual scale replica of our 30-hectare Wildlife Sanctuary and digitally ‘plant’ their creation in an evolving forest of digital trees already created by other visitors on the night.
For each of the estimated 4000 virtual plants created during the initiative, we will plant one IRL within the Sanctuary, which was set up 50 years ago to protect local flora and fauna.
‘Living Landscapes embodies David Hockney’s unique style by blending technology with old-style painting of beautiful flora and landscapes,’ said Sanctuary Senior Coordinator Andrew Stocker.
‘Participants are not only creating their own unique piece of digital art, they are also making a lasting contribution to a sustainable future.’
Commitment to the arts
Our partnership with the NGV is part of our commitment to become leaders in the sector and the Australian University of choice for art and culture partnerships.