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Dunedin School of Art: Lunchtime Research Seminar Programme, Term 2, 2020.

This programme is being offered online using the Adobe Connect platform. Below is information and guidelines on accessing these seminars.


All events are accessed via this Adobe link:

Note: It is advised that it is best to use Chrome or Internet Explorer as your browser (not Firefox) when accessing the Adobe Connect platform.

During seminars please keep your webcam and microphone turned off. You can use the "raise hand" icon when you want to offer a comment or question, and then turn on your mic (and camera if you would like to) to speak, or you can type into the chat box. If you are a Otago Polytechnic staff or student and have any technical problems with joining, or once you have joined the meeting, you can ring the OP IT Helpdesk on: 0800 765 948. Members of the wider art community are asked to refer to their own provider.




THURS 7 MAY, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Tobias Danielmeier

Sustainable Architecture – hidden complexities of architecture


Making buildings is easy – creating architecture is complex. Using New Zealand’s Solar Decathlon entry as a case study, the seminar discusses the roles and responsibilities architecture can and has to play in the creation of meaningful and lasting structures. The talk reflects on passive and active solar strategies, carbon footprints of materials, mechanical and technological aids, ethical considerations, as well as design values. Thus, the seminar explores opportunities of and barriers to the goal of building sustainably while highlighting the complexity of ecological responsibilities.


Tobias Danielmeier is an Associate Professor at the College of Art, Design and Architecture. His research and professional practice investigate the interface between industrial architecture and spaces for hospitality. His work focuses on how processes and production flows can be improved spatially, how buildings aid and optimise energy and water use, use of solar active and passive strategies, creation of positive and lasting visitor experiences, as well as place and corporate identity expressed through our built environment. Many of his architectural designs have gained national and international awards in the disciplines of architecture, design and engineering. Tobias is member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Green Building Council, Architectural Designers of New Zealand, Bund Deutscher Baumeister, the Designers Institute of New Zealand, the Building Technology Educators’ Society, and Bund Deutscher Önologen. He regularly acts as juror on architecture and heritage competitions and is member of the International Journal of Architecture, Arts and Applications editorial board.



THURS 14 MAY, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Professor Federico Freschi

Commercial Galleries and the Construction of a Market for Contemporary Art in Johannesburg, 1950s-1970s

At mid-twentieth century Johannesburg was riding the crest of an economic boom and was the powerhouse of an economy that was largely driven by gold well into the 1970s. Indeed, despite increasingly isolationist apartheid policies and economic sanctions, the South African economy expanded rapidly well into the 1970s on the strength of capital-intensive industrial production that developed out of the gold mining industry. For Johannesburg’s cosmopolitan white population cultural wealth grew alongside economic wealth, and found easy expression in the acquisition of art. Consequently, by the early 1960s there were several commercial art galleries participating in what Esmé Berman described in 1972 as “the lively world of galleries and salesrooms”. These galleries promoted the work of contemporary artists, both black and white, and catered to a variety of tastes. At the same time, the 1960s was an era of increasing professionalization in the South African art world, and particularly on the Witwatersrand. Fine Arts curricula at universities began to emphasize both contemporary trends emanating from Europe and the United State (and to a lesser extent, historical African art) as well as introducing aspects of contemporary theory and art criticism. Art publishing also increased, driven partly by the proliferation of new galleries as well as by a younger generation of academics who were eager to assert an intellectual and aesthetic independence for South African contemporary art.

In this paper, I consider the role of commercial galleries like Gallery 101, Gallery 21, the Egon Guenther Gallery and the Goodman Gallery, amongst others, in the development of a market for contemporary art in Johannesburg from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. I explore the broader academic and critical frameworks for the understanding, appreciation and promotion of contemporary South African art which they were instrumental in creating and show how these continue to inform the South African art market today.


Newly appointed Head of College of Art Design & Architecture and Professor at Otago Polytechnic, Federico Freschi was formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. His research has focused largely on the political iconography of public buildings, with a secondary line of research into the construction of the canon of modern South African art, and more recently how the art market is implicated in this. Recent publications include Troubling Images: The Visual Culture of Afrikaner Nationalism (with Brenda Schmahmann and Lize van Robbroeck, Wits University Press, 2020) and Henri Matisse: Rhythm & Meaning (Standard Bank Gallery, 2016), a catalogue accompanying an exhibition that he co-curated of Matisse’s work, the first on the African continent. He is a former Vice-President of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA), a former President of the South African Visual Arts Historians, a member of the advisory committee of Forum Kunst und Markt, and a member of the Committee on Design of the College Art Association (USA).


THURS 21 MAY, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Tim Barlow

Snake-oil and Carpetbaggers: Can visiting artists be trusted?


“While contemporary art in particular has a large mountain of suspicion to overcome, most cultural gestures must contend with the growing cultural attitude of paranoia” (Nato Thompson from Seeing Power). As Thompson’s quote suggests there can be complex trust issues to deal with when artists create collaborative, community and participatory art projects. In this seminar, I review some of the community art projects I have worked on in relation to negotiating trust and paranoia, as well as turning these obstacles around to create action and a sense of hope.


Tim graduated from the Dunedin School of Art in 1994 with a Dip FA Hons. His sculptural work includes installations, moving image, public art and community-based projects. He works at the intersection of themed attractions, film production, architecture, social justice issues and local resource use. Often there is a fun element to his projects such as with The Public Fountain (2012), an interactive geothermal geyser fountain produced for the Taupo Erupt festival. In 2015, he established the Wainuiomata Water Festival a water festival staged during times of water restrictions. He recreated Elbe’s Milk Bar (2015) a Lower Hutt milk bar infamous for creating a moral panic in Aotearoa. More recently with Open Source Water-well (2019), he built a shelter that harvested water from air on Waiheke Island. He has also worked as a prop maker and art director in commercial film production in Aotearoa, UK, and globally. In 2017-2018, he worked alongside Weta Workshop as Head of Content for a new themed museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Zhuhai, China. In 2017, he completed a practice-based PhD in Fine Arts from Massey University in Wellington, NZ.



THURS 28 MAY, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Michael Greaves

Migrant Objects, Material Intelligences and Conditions of Space


The space that painting composes is both a space available for tangible looking and a projection of space that is emerging. It is a kind of space somewhat arranged outside of our conditions of meaning. Taken in isolation, the painted mark relates more to an abstract letterform, occurring on a plane and of that plane simultaneously. During 2019, I worked with an Iranian calligrapher on a project that considered the ways in which the space around calligraphy and its context is essential to the way in which the text is received. This contextual arrangement also occurs frequently in painting, and it is the confluence of these ideas that has become interesting to me in thinking about the nature of painting, and its operations. Beginning from a doodle on a yellow gumboot, my seminar will traverse some of the making questions that have occupied my thoughts in the making of the work associated with the publication from this collaboration, as well as the ways in which this work has now positioned me in thinking about the validity of making paintings that sidestep direct meaning in today’s saturated and didactic image world.


Born in Dunedin, Michael Greaves holds an MFA (with distinction) in Painting from the Otago Polytechnic, awarded in 2017, and a BA in Art History & Theory from the University of Otago. He has a growing exhibition record with work included in two recent shows in Berlin. His research and art are driven by the seemingly contradictory worlds of the maker, the object and the thing. His paintings combine the visual fact and the imaginary proposal of painting in a way that identifies a slippage in our visual sensations.



THURS 4 JUNE, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Riccardo Lucignani

The Challenges of a Landscape Project: Forte Michelangelo


In describing the challenges that arose during a large scale landscape project around a historical site, this seminar will demonstrate the importance of balancing the principles of heritage architecture with the competing uses of a public/commercial space. Forte Michelangelo, is one of the most prestigious monuments on the Lazio coast. It is situated in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, on the site of the ancient Roman port. Construction began on the fort in 1508 during the papacy of Pope Julius II, under the supervision, firstly, of Bramante, then Giuliano Leno and Antonio da Sangallo, and finally Michelangelo, who completed the structure with the keep in 1535. From the beginning of the 20th century up to the date of the project in 2013, the Fort and its location underwent countless changes due to multiple demands on the site and, most significantly, a devastating bombardment during World War II. At the start of the project the site was run-down, with the ground-line of the fort buried three meters deep in some places.

The brief from the Port Authority of Civitavecchia, Anzio e Fiumicino was to restore the lustre of the fort and its surrounding area, which now overlooks a quay for mega yachts. The resulting urban redevelopment project (2013–2015) reconnected the town of Civitavecchia with its own port, and made the castle the centrepiece. Forte Michelangelo is now the unifying keystone after years of urban decay.

The project grew from the idea of restoring dignity to the fort and the surrounding area. This was achieved by uncovering the base of the building, modifying access, creating a pedestrian park, and water surfaces that referenced the sea border from the 1500s. The ground plan outlined the old port pier, which existed until the early 1900s. A gate was constructed that could be completely lowered into the ground when not needed to demarcate the boundary between the port and the city. To realise the project, a series of problems had to be solved, including lowering the gate to an area that was below sea level, uncovering the base of the fort without damaging the building’s stone and laying the appropriate pipes and cables for a working port in a site rich in archaeological remains. There was also the discovery of unexploded World War II bombs, requiring the complete redesign for the plans for the front of the fort.


Riccardo Lucignani is an architect, interior designer and project manager with wide ranging experience in the construction,renovation and interior design of private homes, gardens, shops, offices, hotels and yachts in Italy (including Rome, Milan, Florence as well as Civitavecchia where he was a founding partner of “21PL Architetti s.r.l.” and “21 PL architetti associati) and Tunisia. A career highlight has been the landscaping project around the historic Forte Michelangelo for the Port Authority of Civitavecchia, internationally recognised with the City Brand & Tourism Landscape Award.


THURS 11 JUNE, 12.00 – 1.00 PM, ONLINE


Jane Venis and Hannah Joynt

Visual interpretation of sound and audio interpretation of mark making is a continuing exploration of ‘drawing as a language.’


 In September 2019 they took part in the Buinho Creative Hub Residency in Portugal where they further developed their experimental practice. In this seminar they will talk about their residency and how their practice is continuing to develop from that experience. They will also introduce works from their residency shown as part of their recent exhibition at CICA Museum in South Korea.

Hannah Joynt is a contemporary drawing practitioner who works in a range of media, processes and scales. Her studio practice is concerned with researching notions of ‘drawing as a language.’

Jane Venis is a musician, performance artist and maker of sculptural musical instruments. Her work is often playful and experimental and engagement with the viewer is critical to her practice.


Published on 5 May 2020

Orderdate: 5 May 2020
Expiry: 12 Jun 2020