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Man & Wah: CELESTON

Man & Wah are a creative duo based in Brisbane, Australia. Their practice is a form of self-directed learning and a remedy to reconnect with nature and the cosmos. As 2020 MoB Artists in Residence, a program supported by Tim Fairfax AC, the pair curated a digital work speaking to the botanical worlds. Drawn from the artists’ extensive catalogue created over the past seven years, the outcome was CELESTON, an amalgamation of recordings by the artists, created within the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the rise to dismantle systemic racism, and pondering on the mystery and multilayered momentum that propels the cosmic process and its influence.

CELESTON was created during the Museum of Brisbane (MoB) Artists @ Home residency in May-June 2020. It was also featured in the global online Ars Electronica Festival in September 2020, which MoB was invited to participate in. The festival connected ‘Gardens’ (online and physical spaces created by organisations with artists) across the globe, and celebrate the possibilities of art, technology and society.

Explore the CELESTON project in the Ars Electronica Festival 2020 archive.

Artist Studio Profile: Man & Wah

Working within the breadth of nature and the cosmos, the Macro and Micro, Man & Wah produce lush and alluring photographic, moving image, digital and installation based works. Collaborating with a diverse range of people on projects across the globe, they explore the depths of place through local flora; ultimately illuminating synergies between the limits of the man-made and vastness of natural systems and structures.

This video follows the artists’ creative process and explores the places they forage for inspiration and meaning. Created in collaboration with photographer and filmmaker Charlie Hillhouse (AU), this studio profile gives insight into the forces that drive Man & Wah to continue to compel audiences to reflect on the phenomenal complexity of plants and the endless possibilities of interconnectedness.

Man & Wah, LIFE FORCE – AMAZONIA COSMOS (detail) 2020, photograph, LED sphere screen display and interactive media. Courtesy the artists.

Man & Wah: Artist Studio Profile. Videographer: Charlie Hillhouse.

CELESTON 2: Installation

Man & Wah’s residency and involvement in Arts Electronica Festival also extended into an installation, titled CELESTON 2 at Museum of Brisbane from September 2020 to April 2021, which included newly digital and physical commissioned works by Man & Wah.

CELESTON 2 was a curated amalgamation of audio, video and photographic material centred on the cosmic and botanical worlds, drawn from the artists’ extensive catalogue created over the past seven years. The work was informed by Man & Wah’s attempt to make sense of unfolding global events and the mass of information that accompanied them. It examines how the past and present can mould ideas, beliefs and social structures, and how digital information is controlled to induce human reactions.

Find out more about Man & Wah’s installation at the Museum of Brisbane here.

MoB’s Artist in Residence program is supported by Tim Fairfax AC.

Photo: Claudia Baxter.

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