Interactive media art installation brings Hawaii to the South

Posted on Apr 24 2017 - 8:00am by Jacqueline Schlick

The new media art space in Oxford, misbits, exists to “bring an emphasis to new media/digital art in Oxford through visiting artists, workshops and collaboration,” according to director Valerie Polgar, and the gallery is featuring solo artist Jennifer Goya beginning this week.

Goya, who usually specializes in video art, experimental oral histories and interactive artwork that incorporates graphic illustrations, sound and video, is a visiting artist from Honolulu. She is setting up an interactive media installation, a web piece and two single-channel videos demonstrating Hawaii and tourism.

jennifer goya, waikiki sign

A still from one of Goya’s single-channel video installations, Waikiki Sign. (Photo courtesy: Jennifer Goya)

“Each video piece consists of one long uninterrupted shot with a single action featured as its primary act,” Goya said. “For ‘Ordnance Ordinance,’ the primary act is the sunlight slowly disappearing from the artillery display and for ‘Waikiki Sign’ a slow zoom into the sign on a perfect day in Hawaii. Each piece is paired with text.”

The artist statement paired with Ordnance Ordinance states, “It is human nature to seek beautiful things. And many times it is human nature to destroy them. Rather than show what the tourist eye seeks, an emotionless display of man-made objects of destruction are presented in Ordnance Ordinance for contemplation… The fading sun ray becomes the primary act in this non-narrative film.”

Goya moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, for college and lived in New York City for six years but returned home in 2010 to teach youth media at Mid-Pacific Institute. Though she is settled permanently in Hawaii, she chose the small town of Oxford to show her work.

“Hawaii is isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while Oxford is in the south of the United States,” Goya said. “I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to share my stories with a community that would typically never be associated with Hawaii.  I’m hoping people who see my show leave with a new perspective of Hawaii, and if they ever visit, I hope they have a different frame of mind when embracing our land, people and culture.”

Polgar and Goya have known each other for almost a decade, and Polgar was quickly intrigued by Goya’s individual style.

“I have always admired her work and her unique perspective,” Polgar said. “The fact she was from and living in Hawaii was a plus because I am interested in bringing artists here from a variety of locations.”

Misbits offers a fresh take on artistic forms and is important because “it emphasizes the relevance of art and artists in our world today and embraces the use of technology as a means of connecting people,” Polgar said. “I am currently working towards having visiting artists provide workshops or lead community projects, in addition to their shows.”

This is the second visiting artist solo show at misbits: a new media art space and the opening reception will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.