Sam Hamilton is a multi-disciplinary artist originally from Auckland, Aotearoa / New Zealand. His practice over the last decade has predominantly been defined by its relative proximity to music and sound. Yet, like a river, it has wound it’s way through many varied landscapes, landscapes where – like any healthy ecosystem, forest or household vegetable garden – diversity has played a pivotal role in developing the structural integrity of the system – or practice – as a whole.
Although just as crazy and chaotic as any career as an artist inevitably is; after a decade of tireless commitment to making and doing things, Hamilton today enjoys a somewhat relatively matured, fruitful and successful practice. One that benefits from having a broad and fertile framework of creative, theoretical, technical and professional experiences to draw from when developing ideas and projects and approaching making art – or anything for that matter.
A practice perhaps better defined not as any one trajectory down the road to singular specialization as it is the confluence of many roads at a spaghetti junction. Only a spaghetti junction not of roads but of footpaths. Footpaths that meander in all but straight trajectories through a spectrally rich 4-dimensional garden. Yet when individually followed to their conclusion, all paths connect back up at some kind of antipodean gravitational pole. As if you followed all the roads that led to Rome in the opposite direction to find that all thats there is a park bench waiting for you to just sit down and take a moment on before walking back; and in the process perpetuating the great cycle of destinationless yet purposeful wondering that fuels everything from planets to pastry chefs.
Pragmatically speaking, it’s a practice less consumed with cataloguing individual stars in the sky as it is with trying to draw new constellations between them in the hope they may help us all to navigate forward into the future, just as our ancestors used them to navigate the avenues of the past to arrive here at the present.
Highlights thus far have included such endeavours as:
- Undertaking field recording bio-acoustic research projects in the Amazon rain forests of Brazil, Colombia and Peru
- Recording and performing weirdo post internet pop/dance music everywhere from The DIY bike co-ops across America to the Auckland Triennial, from public sculpture studios in Santiago de Chile to abandoned Greek school house in Athens, from NYC night clubs to university concert chambers to emptied out swimming pool parties.
- Creating 16mm, 8mm an 35mm expanded cinema performance works and experimental films and video installations that have been presented everywhere from NYC’s ISSUE Project Room to the great plains of the Australian outback desert.
- Creating sound installations, sculpture works, workshops and experiential tours for all sorts of festivals, sculpture parks, stinky city alleyways, art galleries and centres, performance spaces, clubs and archives around the world.
- Creating and directing independent festivals, events and programs of experimental music, art cinema and community pop music in Auckland.
- Undertaking international residencies from Brazil to the Netherlands
- producing photographic based visual art for publication.
- Composing and performing numerous works for film, theatre, stage, dance and performance productions (including a continuing working relationship with the internationally renowned Lemi Ponifasio / MAU Dance Company).
Hamilton recently received a CNZ grant to pursue his most ambitious project to date, a 10x part suite of experimental film studies to be produced in Samoa in collaboration with Ioane Papalii. The 10x film parts will act as the arena for staging a broad attempt to forge new relationships – whether real or imagined – between science and art and will be modeled structurally off of 10 of the most prominent objects in the Solar System.
This will be explored in various ways from culturally gestural extrapolations on Quantum Mechanics principles to constructing conceptual bridges or more purely poetic analogues between subjective human mythologies and various proposed physical realities of astronomy, physics, cosmology and the mosaic of ways these realities are explored and understood and interpreted.
And all shot on entirely on super 16mm celluloid film.
Hamilton is also working on the production of a book titled ‘Our Grandfather is the Jaguar’. The collection of several series of visual art constructions, experiments, photographs and documentations mostly shot on 35mm film over the last 3 years at various locations including Greece, Taiwan, UK, USA, Mexico, France, Germany, Singapore and Italy.
2014 will see the touring of Stones in Her Mouth, a stage production by the Lemi Ponifasio / MAU Dance Company that Hamilton wrote and performs the soundtrack for to the New Zealand Festival in Wellington as well as festivals in Germany, Canada, the UK, New Caledonia and more.
It will also see numerous shows, concerts and a couple of new music releases.
Awards, grants and scholarships
- CNZ Arts Board funding for the Solar System project 2013
- The Arts Foundation New Generation Artist Award 2011
- The Starving Artists Fund 2007
- The Brombron residency, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 2011
- the Mamori Sound Project residency in Brazil 2007
- CNZ grant to produce INTEGRIFOLIA 2011.
- CNZ to tour the Parasitic Fantasy Band to the USA 2009.
- CNZ to create the 35mm experimental short film Blue Tide, Black Water 2008
- CNZ to attend the Mamori Sound Project 2007.
- The SOUNZ Community Commission for Shifting Inner City Sound Plains 2009.
- Best Music for short dance work 2010 TEMPO dance festival, Auckland.
- INTEGRIFOLIA. LP 2013
- Time Banking. CD 2013 (a collaboration with Jan Anderzén of Finland released by the Netherlands Kormplastics)
- PALA. LP 2010
- Sooty Symposium. CD 2009
- Tropic’s. 7” on CMR
- The Garden Paths are Overgrown. CDR
- Shitty Peep Hole Kudos. 8” by City Peoples Farmers Music. 2009
- International Tall Dwarfs. The Tall Dwarfs. 2007
Works exhibited/presented at: (not in order)
- Artspace – Post Office show
- Brick Bay Sculpture Park
- The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum
- Window Gallery – Bodies / Cities
- ISSUE Project Room (New York City)
- Puffin Gallery – SEED (New York City)
- Wellington City Gallery
- Adam Art Gallery
- High Street Project
- Empirical Soundings (Commonwealth Games, Bendigo Australia)
- The Physics Room
- Luggage Room (San Francisco)
- Gus Fisher Gallery exhibition misc
- Audio Foundation exhibition
- Living Room Public Art Programme
- Auckland Festival
- Auckland Triennial
- The Film Archive Auckland solo exhibition
- The Film Archive Wellington Parasitic Fantasy Band exhibition
- Te Tuhi bus performance series
- ABC Gallery (Melbourne)
- Dunedin Public Art Gallery
- Govett Brewster
- St Paul St Gallery
- White Slab Palace (New York City)
- Long Beach Art Theatre (Los Angeles)
- ATA (San Francisco)
- Holocene (Portland, OR)
- Extrapool (the Netherlands)
- KVS (Belgium)
- Concertgebouw (Belgium)
- Skylab (Ohio)
- Empty Bottle (Chicago)
Festivals of participation:
- Alt Music
- Dokfest (Germany)
- Athens International Comics Festival (Greece)
- Camp a Low Hum
- Redcat RADAR LA 2013 (Los Angeles)
- Squarewave festival
- Golden Plains festival (Australia)
- Sound Summit (Australia)
- The NOW Now Festival (Australia)
- Other Film Festival (Australia)
- NZ International Film Festival
Directed festivals, programs and events:
- Feel Good Things Festival
- Alleluya Noise Festival
- The FPS live cinema program for the NZ International Film Festival
- Cinema Ascension Festival
- The Borderline Music Club
- The Dada Bing radio show, Fleet FM
Cities toured to with Lemi Ponifasio / MAU Dance Company
- New Zealand Arts Festival, New Zealand
- Sydney, Carriage Works, Australia
- Taipei, Taiwan.
- Athens, Greece.
- Rome, Italy.
- Berlin Festival, Berlin.
- Ruhr Triennale, Duisburg, Germany.
- Holland Festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- KVS, Brussels, Belgium
- Moscow Festival of Contemporary Dance. Russia.
- Strausburg, France.
- Theatre de la Ville, Paris, France.
- Barcelona, Spain.
- Helsinki, Finland.
- Stockholm, Sweden.
- Festival Cerventele. Guanajuato, Mexico.
- Festival a Mil, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
- Montreal, Canada.
- Ottawa, Canada.
- Red Cat, Los Angeles, USA.