Imogen Zino Bougainvillea overlay sample (from The Transcendence of Spring series) 2021, pressed flora, rice paper, laminating, 15.5” x 27.5”. Photo: Joshua Duley.

Artist Spotlight: Imogen Zino

Imogen Zino is a designer and artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. She completed a Master of Design at Auckland University of Technology that explored large-scale multi-sensory interaction and the benefits of engaging with our environment through the body. Her works are intuitive and tactile in nature. Delving into the relationship between body, surface and environment, Imogen incorporates her background in digital, industrial, jewelry and textile design and love of playing with materials into all that she creates.


The Materiality of Winter is a multi-sensory audio-tactile installation made up of three-and-a-half-thousand individually handmade ceramic pieces. This installation is a response to the Western world’s obsession with the mind and unequivocal reverence of sight to the detriment of the self and all other senses. It considers ways in which other senses, such as dynamic touch and reactive sound, may be ignited and reunited with sight, to re-engage the self and the inhabited environment. It posits that inspiring a sense of awe and wonder through the art of interaction may just be the antidote to a disconnected world. A central aim of this project was to enable a greater sense of connection between the internal sensory world of the participant and the inhabited environment.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Stefan Marks.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

I have always been mesmerised by embodied artistic experiences and their ability to make one feel completely absorbed in an activity or a moment. I try to create unique and engaging experiences with considered texture and touch elements in all my projects. Even if I am only designing a small ring, I like there to be an element of surprise or roughness on the surface. A tactile connection or interest is a unique and engaging one.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter (detail) 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter (running stitch detail, back) 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

The Materiality of Winter traverses the senses and ponders the potentiality of other imagined worlds. Suspended from the ceiling and dwelling in corners it creates a space within a space. It is a surface, a structure and an environment to be inhabited. It measures roughly 4.5 meters long and 1.8 meters wide at its widest point. Scale was both important and challenging but in order to create the impression of a space, it had to be large and all-encompassing.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter (touch interaction) 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

This installation brings together people, materials and craft to create a unique and engaging experience. Each ceramic piece is similar in form yet unique and varied, coming together to create a whole. There is a conscious variance in size, with similar pieces clustered together in order to enhance the range and playfulness of the acoustic experience. The smaller pieces produce a higher pitch and the larger, a much lower one. The individuality of each piece generates an organic topography and creates an undulating surface. Many hands came together to create the pieces that make up the surface of this work, and while the installation is designed to promote community engagement, it also provides a unique experience in both its fabrication and realisation. The Materiality of Winter is a living space that engages with touch and responds both audibly and dynamically with it. The textures of sound, shape and surface activate our perceptual selves, immersing us in and connecting us to the world. In this state the self is transient and open to feeling happiness. With Winter in my mind, I have created an immersive experiential work that seeks to elicit a sense of awe-filled wonder.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter (detail) 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

Imogen Zino The Materiality of Winter (detail) 2019, white clay ceramics, steel, sailing thread, HPL, hand-rolled spikes. Photo: Jenna Maxfield.

Upcoming projects:

The Transcendence of Spring is the working title of the project I am currently developing. It  explores our inability to extend life in its natural form and embraces the ways in which we can creatively extend the essence of life and make it anew. The Transcendence of Spring will be an installation of large scale panels made up of preserved floral elements.

Imogen Zino Bougainvillea overlay sample (from The Transcendence of Spring series) 2021, pressed flora, rice paper, laminating, 15.5” x 27.5”. Photo: Joshua Duley.

Imogen Zino Bougainvillea spaced sample (from The Transcendence of Spring series) 2021, pressed flora, rice paper, laminating, 15.5” x 27.5”. Photo: Joshua Duley.

I am also currently in the editing phase for a short experimental film I have written and directed called Bodies of WaterBodies of Water is a sound and art film based around water and the body. It uses techniques like ASMR and jumps between macro and micro scales to disorient and envelop the audience. If all goes well, this should be available for viewing by the middle of 2021.

Imogen Zino Bodies of Water (behind the scenes) 2020, short film. Photo: Estère Dalton.

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