Otago Polytechnic

Research from Jane Venis

Departments: College of Art, Design and Architecture


Professor Jane Venis is a multi-media artist, musician and writer. Her studio practice focuses on the absurdities and concerns of contemporary popular culture, which is expressed through the making of objects, video, sound and performance works. Recent solo installations have taken place in public galleries and museums in New Zealand and she has contributed to juried group exhibitions in the USA, South Korea, The UK and China. Her current writing links to her studio practice and focuses on how the creative practice of Japanese chindogu can be used to discuss the tension between art and design. Jane is an Academic Leader in the School of Design and teaches in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the College of Art and Design and Architecture and is the Editor of Scope Art and Design. She has a Master of Fine Arts from the Dunedin School of Art and a PhD in Fine Arts from Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. Jane has Nine years' experience supervising postgraduate students. She supports students in their dissertation writing, coming from a position as a practising artist familiar with studio practice.

ORCID profile: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5571-6354

Journal Article

Venis, J. (2018) The Olympics of the art world: Allora and Calzadilla’s Track and Field. SAJAH, volume 33(1), 2018.

Venis,J. (2017) The Olympics of the Art world: Allora and Calzadilla’s Track and Field South African Journal of Art History: Special Edition 'Aesthetic Experience.' Invitation to contribute. Abstract accepted. Article to be published late 2017

Venis,J. (2015) The Paradox of Chindogu. Palais #21. ISSN 1 951-672X, ISBN 978-2-84711-057-9.

Venis, J. (2015) The Dysfunctional Machine: Chindogu Meets Pataphysics. The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 9, Issue 3-4, pp 1-9. http://www.theuniversitypressjournals.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.232/prod.53
The selection process was double-blind peer reviewed.

Venis,J. (2015) Behind the Scenes with Dr Clawhammer. Scope Contemporary Research Topics, Art and Design, 11. 2015. Pages 76-80.

Venis, J. (2011) The Chindogu Gym: or Zen and the art of exercycle maintenance. Scope: Contemporary Research Topics Scope Art 5, December 2011. This article discusses the studio and theoretical methodology underpinning the Gymnauseum project. I discuss how my studio practice performs a critique of products which are designed and promoted to achieve the impossible for most people – a perfectly toned body attained with a minimum of energy expended.(Selected by double-blind peer review.)

Venis, J. (2011) Chindogu: Not so useless after all The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Vol 5, issue 5. This work was developed from the conference paper of the same name, presented at the International Conference of the Arts in Society in Sydney 2010.

Venis, J. (2010) Engaging Students with Low Motivation in a Studio Learning Environment. Scope, Art, 4, December 2009 (released 2010). In this paper I introduce some practical examples to help generate peer support in a group of new students. This is the starting point in creating and maintaining a positive learning environment. Links between low motivation and low self-esteem are identified, together with strategies to help students achieve early success. The power of early success cannot be underestimated, because it frees learners to access the energy they need to work more creatively. Learning strategies that address this and stimulate creative energy are discussed. One of these methods is the use of "action learning” to help students of varying abilities to understand and implement theoretical concepts. (Selected by double-blind peer review.) http://www.thescopes.org

Venis, J. (2009) Desire/N Designers Exhibition. Aotearoa NZ Assn of Art Educators Journal, ISSN 1175-6500. Vol 19 (1). 21 - 23.
This article highlights the Desire/N Designers exhibition featured in the 2009 ANZAAE exhibition, Dunedin, 2009. (Selection by peer review.)

Venis, J. (2007) Raucous. Junctures: The Journal of Thematic Dialogue, 9; Voice, December 2007. 117-122.
In this article I document the development of Raucous, a research project to develop a voice aid for vocally impaired people. I track my development of a light and powerful amplifying system that is discretely integrated into clothing.(Selected by double-blind peer review.) www.junctures.org

Venis, J. (2006) Playing the Fool. Junctures: The Journal of Thematic Dialogue, 7: Play, December, 2006 113-117.
This article explores the development of my 'Fool's Instruments' created as part of the Freakquent Viewing exhibition (NRO3). Traditional brass band music and instruments of the ‘big top’, and the development of street and fairground organs that fronted smaller travelling fairs and carnivals, have provided an historical background for the construction of my Fool’s Instruments. The flavour of the resulting music ties in with the humour, pathos and absurdity of the degraded carnival that is reality television. (Selected by double-blind peer review.)

Venis, J (2004) Guillermo Gomez Pena, Dangerous Border Crossers: the Artist Talks Back
Junctures: Journal of Thematic Dialogue 3 Body #2 3 Body #2 December 2004 pg 81-82

Creative Work

Venis, J. (2018) Naked and Confused. Guest artist, Art + Oceans, 23 July - 5 August, Otago Museum Skinner Annex. Otago Polytechnic in association with Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

Venis,J. (2017) The Eggs Factor. Video screened in group exhibition "Humorgeous Smorgasbord", Flux Factory, Queens, New York, September 8th -16th 2017.

Venis, J. (2017) Anything could happen. A group exhibition exhibition of contemporary art and fashion from Dunedin, New Zealand Yu Gallery, Yu Yuan, Shanghai May 8– June 9, 2017 curated by Margo Barton, Jane Malthus and Anthony Deaker.

Venis, J. (2017) The Brass Section. Part of "Anything Could Happen," Yu Gallery, Yu Yuan Gardens, Shanghai, China. 8 May - 9 June 2017. Curated by Anthony Deaker, Margo Barton and Jane Malthus.

Venis, J. (2016) Shiner. Contribution to international juried exhibition, 'Social Justice: It happens to One it happens to all'. September-December 2016. Curated by Gutfreund Cornett Art at St Mary's Collage Museum of Art, Bay Area, Oakland,California,USA. Online and print catalogue.Link to online gallery http://www.gutfreundcornettart.com/gallery-social-justice.html and work in situ http://www.gutfreundcornettart.com/info-social-justice.html

Venis,J. (2016) The Lost Object Ensemble. Eight handmade sculptural musical instruments and HD video, solo Exhibition Forrester gallery (public gallery) Oamaru (by proposal) 14 May 2016 to 3 July 2016 and City gallery Invercargill(by Invitation). Performance and artist oral presentation at the Forrester Gallery, Oamaru. 13th May 6.00pm -performance with instruments that are exhibited as part of the Lost Object Ensemble.

Venis, J. (2015) Panjo. Two works in group show, Otago Museum, Skinner Annex. Curated by Matt Galloway and Clive Humphreys for the Art + Design Symposium, 16-17th October 2015, Hosted by Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.

Venis,J. (2014) Dr Clawhammer's Banjo Ukulele. Instrument prototype and performance at the Fiul International Ukulele festival at Loraine France in July.

Venis,J. (2014) Dr Clawhammer. FIUL International Ukelele Festival 4-6 July Chamois de Devant Bruyeres France

Venis,J. (2013) Gymnauseum; 'Pimping' of Body and Machine. Dunedin School of Art Gallery, Dunedin.
Exhibition images on this website: http://www.whitecollar.co.nz/jane-venis

Venis, J. (2011) Fringe Inventions: An exhibition of Chindogu. Otago Settlers Museum in conjunction with Dunedin Fringe Festival, 2011, 12th March to 3rd April 2011. 'Absolution', a machine to create instant abs. This is a chindogu-inspired work designed as an ironical look at excercise equipment and is linked to my PhD study. (Finalists selected by committee.)

Venis, J. (2011) Gymnauseum. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 15th October 2011 until 12 November 2011, 10 objects, 1 video, 1 interactive game and soundtrack. Multimedia installation which uses Japanese chindogu as a starting point to question and critique the fitness industry. Work selected by curatorial committee via proposal. Satiricial informercial video available on request.

Venis, J. and nine others (2010) Fringe Inventions: An Exhibition of Chindogu. Dunedin Fringe Festival, Otago Settlers Museum, April 2010. Two chindogu-inspired sculptural objects. My "Grate Act", a carrot-grating ukulele, won the 2010 Fringe Festival Chindogu award.

Venis, J. (2009) Desire/n; Otago Polytechnic Design Staff Exhibition. Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators Conference, Dunedin 2009. Catalogue ISBN 978-908846-42-9, April 21st -24th. Selected by international panel (double-blind peer reviewed). Reworked skateboard (initially exhibited in 2009 Fringe Inventions Exhibition) with better sound, enabling playing in concert pitch with clarity of tone. www.anzaae 2009.org.nz

Venis, J. (2009) Fringe Inventions: Dunedin Fringe Festival Chindogu Exhibition. Dunedin Fringe festival, Dunedin Public Gallery, March 29 - April 5th. An exhibition of useless inventions. (Finalists selected by committee.)

Venis, J. (2008) Junk to Funk Art Awards (finalist). Ashburton Art Gallery. 19th July to 17 August. Five copper and brass playable musical instruments created from recycled materials. (Finalists selected by gallery.) http://www.artscanterbury.org.nz/index.cfm/notices___events/events.html

Venis, J. (2007) OBJECTive Art Awards exhibition. Manaukau City council. Nathan Homestead Gallery 17 Nov 2007- 5 Jan 2008. Exhibition of works by finalists in the awards. Two works exhibited: handmade instrument and DVD of the instrument being played in performance. (Finalists chosen by selection committee.)

Venis, J. (2007) Lyrical Notations. Salisbury House Gallery, Dunedin, 6th -23rd May 2007. Six works. Invited to exhibit. These were selected works from the Freaquent Viewing exhibition of October 2006. Favourable review, Otago Daily Times, 10th May. http://www.cityofdunedin.com/city/?page=today_whatson&date=14/05/2007&event=14342

Venis, J. Joynt,H. Dobie,C. (Ricketty Galumphy Bad Time Band) (2007) Ricketty Gallumphy Bad Time Band performance Salisbury House Gallery Dunedin. (By invitation.) 6th May. 30 minutes. Part of 'Lyrical Notations' exhibition and performances to celebtate NZ Music Month. (By invitation.)

Venis, J. (2006) Freakquent Viewing. Dunedin Fringe Festival, Ashburton Art Gallery, Aigantighe Art Museum, Timaru. www.nzlive.com/en/event/tag/jane-venis - Dunedin: September 25th -29th 2006, Ashburton: July 19th to August 17th 2008; Timaru: September 5th to October 12th 2008. Four short films, installation and performance. This won a Dunedin Fringe Festival: Highly commended Award for Visual Arts. Sculptural works as part of the exhibition include playable wind instruments and carnival contraptions constructed from recycled materials. I presented public floor talks and performances with the instruments in Timaru and Ashburton, and a carnival opening performance as part of the Dunedin exhibition. Selection by proposal to Fringe festival Committee for 2006, selection by proposal for Ashburton Gallery and by invitation from Aigantighe in 2008. Video from the installation available on request. http://www.ashburtonartgallery.org.nz/
www.nzlive.com/en/event/tag/jane-venis -

Rakena, R., Venis, J. & Adams, K., equal collaboration. (2006) OriOri. Auckland Art Gallery. 3 Nov - 7 January. Video with soundtrack, audio CD. This work was part of the curated series of exhibitions featuring high-profile New Zealand sound and video artists. Purshased by The Auckland Art Gallery for their permanent collection 2008. Selected by curator Andrew Clifford for inclusion by proposal. OriOri video avaialable on request. http://www.aucklandartgallery.govt.nz/research/digitalresources/sound.asp

Plummer,L. Browne, R. Venis,J. (2005) A Play of the Trace Two Hocken Library University of Otago A play of the Trace 2 -exhibition catalogue March-April 2005 Sculptural installation with soundttrack http://www.cityofdunedin.com/city/?page=today_whatson&date=21/02/2005&event=10431

Potoki Bryant, L. Free, P. Venis, J. Bunn, N. (2004) Whakarurahau-he mihi ki Araiteuru Pacific Arts Festival, Belau Micronesia
Christchurch Art Gallery
Belau 22-31 July 2004
Christchurch 23-24 July 2005 http://www.artscalandar.co.nz/article/1331/

Otago Museum. Venis,J (2004) Temple of Doom :Ritual sacrifice in Ancient Peru Otago Museum April- may 2004 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0401/S00072.htm

Potoki Bryant, L., Free, P & Venis, J (2003) Whakaruruhau-he mihi ki Araiteuru Hapuke Productions Dunedin 30-31 October peformance on two nights, soundtrack 45min

Webb,M., McCallum, R & Venis, J (2003) Southern Land Otago Museum & the Forrester Gallery, Oamaru November 2003 - February 2004 20 min Soundtrack on continuous CD loop

Venis, J (2003) The Blathering (Interactive Installation)
Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin Review, Otago Daily Times Arts page 'Art Seen' 19 June 2003

10-21 June 2 week exhibition, large sculptures, soundtrack 'The Blathering' installation about gossip, involved recording of groups of people, mixing sountracks, playing sounds through 'gossip machines' (twisted pipe sections with speakers inserted into tuba bells). Peer reviewed by selection committee. http://lists.otago.ac.nz/pipermail/creative-dunedin/2003-June/000595.html
www.blueoyster.org.nz/calendar2003.htm - 24k

Rakena, R & Venis, J (2002) Mihi Aroha
As part of curated show 'Whare' Sofa gallery Robert McDougal Annexe Christchurch; Tandanya Gallery, Adelaide Festival; Greenhouse Exhibition, Open Art Gallery, Frankfurt; Auckland University of Technology "Place, Ground, Practice" group show ISBN O-473-08668-9 Christchurch Sept 2002
Adelaide Feb -March 2004
Frankfurt Aug 2004
Auckland Dec 2005 video installation continuous loop http://www.artandindustry.org.nz/scape/exhibit-images/rakena.htm

Venis, J & Charitkhoul, R (2002) Funkgee and JV live at the Satelite Dunedin Fringe Festival, Satelite Gallery
Selected by committee Fringe Festival Programme 29 September One hour performance

Venis,J. Charitkhoul,R (2002) Funkgee and JV, Live at Arc Dunedin Fringe Festival, Arc Cafe, Dunedin
Selected by committee Fringe Festival Programme 5 October Two hour performance

Venis, J (2002) Nocturnal Emissions Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin Reviews in Art New Zealand Spring 2002 and Otago Daily Times 6th June 2002 28 May to 8 June Two week installation, 8 sculptures, soundtrack Installation composed of assemblages of exhaust systems and an original sound track. The sound element is composed from sampling live "boy racer" car sounds. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0205/S00038.htm\

Venis, J (2002) Boil The Physics Room, Contemporary Art Project Space Christchurch
17 July - 10 August sound Installation Experimental recording of kitchen utensills, and cooking sounds filtered and mixed into sound tracks as part of 'Piped Music' installation Series.(selected by committee) www.physics room.org.nz/space/piped

Venis, J (2002) Didgery delay Dunedin Fringe Festival 'Fringe Encore', A selection of performers from the festival 15 December http://lists.otago.ac.nz/pipermail/creative-dunedin/2000-December/000078.html

Venis, J. (2001) 'Really and Trolley' Southern Woman's Supermarket Experience Load Project - experimental installation and performance, Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
Curated by Georgianna Morrison 29 April-13 May 30min performance Review NZ Listener Arts Page June 16 2001

Venis, J & Lyon, K (2001) 'Galloping Consumption' exhibited as part of group exhibition 'The Cotton Show ' Blue Oyster Gallery Dunedin, selected by committee June installation 20 small sculptures and soundtrack

Chapter in Book

Venis,J. (2017) The Eureka Salon: Use,usefulness and the 'unuseless' object. Chapter Ten in edited book "Art and Design". Cambridge Scholars, 163-176. Press.http://www.cambridgescholars.com/art-and-design

Edited Book/Special Edition

Stupples, P., & Venis, J. (2017) Art and Design: History, theory, practice. Art and Design: History, theory, practice, eds J. Venis and P. Stupples, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017. Newcastle upon Tyne: United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-5275-0307-0
ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-0307-6.

Conference Contribution - Other

Venis,J. (2016) The Eggs Factor. International Food Design Conference and Studio 29th -31st June 2016. Food Design Institute, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin. http://www.fooddesign.org.nz/programme/

Venis, J. (2016) The Lost Object Ensemble: Absurdities of the ‘multi-functional’ object. The 11th International Conference of the Arts in Society, UCLA School of Art and Architecture, 10-12 August 2016, Los Angeles, US. The conference proposal was blind peer-reviewed.

Venis,J. (2012) The Chindogu Challenge: Using visual humour to help students think creatively. "Success Is" Ako Aotearoa Academy Symposium 5, Wellington 6-7 December 2012.

Venis, J (2005) Drawn to Sound - practical workshop exploring the links between drawing and sound/music Te Whakatere: Navigating with the Arts in the Pacific
Massey University College of Education 19-21 April 1 hour http://conferences.massey.ac.nz/tewhakatere2005/

http://conferences.massey.ac.nz/tewhakatere2005/ (then go to programme where I am listed)

Conference Contribution - Published Paper

Venis,J. (2015) The Eureka Salon : Use, usefulness, and the ‘unuseless’ object. Abstract published in Proceedings of Art+Design Symposium 16-17th October, Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.

Venis,J. (2014) The Dysfunctional Machine: Chindogu Meets Pataphysics. The Ninth International Conference Of the Arts in Society 25-27 June Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Proposal blind reviewed and accepted by panel.

Venis, J. (2011) Gymnauseum: In search of the perfect ab. Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Schools Conference, 5-8th December 2011, University of Otago. (Selected by conference committee peer review.) In this paper I discuss the making of Gymnauseum, a contemporary art project which is being showcased at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery during the time of this conference. Power and control of the body is a recurring theme in the project. I apply Bentham’s panopticon prison system (as theorised by Foucault) to the contemporary gymnasium, whereby the constant surveillance by other gym users and personal trainers creates a self-regulating system of discipline (Foucault, 1979, Frew and Mc Gllivray, 2005). Surveillance is now extended to fitness machines themselves, which can calculate every calorie burned. I discuss my critique of this practice in Gymnauseum whereby my interactive machines display ludicrous ‘personal data’. (Links to NRO1 and RO5.)

Venis, J. (2009) Drawing the Fool: Creating Objects from Absurd Drawings. Aoteroa New Zealand Association of Art Educators Conference, Dunedin, 21st April. This paper explores the potential of using doodling as a starting point with student projects. Doodling is an overlooked and under-researched expressive tool. Because doodles are largely unedited, unexpected possibilities emerge for use in projects that would have been overlooked in the more serious context of working drawings or plans. (Selection by peer review.)

Venis, J. (2007) Engaging students with low motivation in a studio learning environment. Aoteroa New Zealand Association of Art Educators (ANZAAE) Conference. 2nd-5th July. In this paper links between low motivation and low self-esteem are identified, together with strategies to help students achieve early success. Learning strategies that address this and stimulate creative energy are discussed. (Selected by peer review.) Further developed into journal article in Scope Art 4 (see RO6). http://www.vuw.ac.nz/anzaae07/programme.html

Venis, jane (2001) Gymnauseum: In search of the perfect ab Challenging Leisure:Australia and New Zealand Association
of Leisure Studies 10th Biennial Conference

Oral Presentation

Venis, J. (2010) Chindogu: Freed From the Chains of usefulness Otago Settlers Museum April 2010. Public lecture on the history, theory of Chindogu as a contemporary creative form. This lecture acompanied the Fringe Inventions Exhibition. (Links to RO 13)

Venis, J. (2008) I Can't Draw. Spotlight on Tertiary Teaching, colloqium presented by Otago Polytechnic and University of Otago at the University of Otago, 20th November, 20-min presentation. Students say to themselves 'I can’t draw' because they expect perfection. Letting go negative self-messages can free students to enjoy the process and improve rapidly. I discuss techniques for relaxion and focus in the drawing studio. (Selected by blind peer review.)

Thesis – Masters/Doctoral

Venis, J. (2006) Freakquent Viewing. Otago Polytechnic Master of Fine Arts dissertation, 84 pages. Copy in Bill Robertson Library, awarded with distinction. This dissertation (marked by two external examiners) accompanies a body of studio research that explores across and connects through several media. The writing is divided into three chapters which discuss historical, theoretical and conceptual links between carnival freak shows, reality television and the author’s studio practice.

Research and Expertise