CONTACT 3017: Voyage to the Future

Mar 31, 2017

Melissa Chimera. Inheritance, Haleakala. Oil. The painting depicts the actual remaining numbers of Haleakala National Park's three rarest plant and bird species: 261 kiwikiu, 20 haha and two noho'anu. Contact 3017 runs April 1-16, 2017, at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. Find out more at .
Credit Melissa Chimera

In just four years, the annual Contact exhibition has become a focal point of art and community at the Honolulu Museum School.  It’s setting a new model with initiatives to assist making ambitious works plus community activities for the whole two week run.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.


Josh Tengan is Exhibition Manager for Contact 3017. Part of the Na Mea Hawaii team, he is implementing new ideas this year including a two tier selection process which allows for funding ambitious works and a DJ remix component featuring traditional Hawaiian songs in futuristic iterations.
Credit na mea hawaii

  Contact 3017 opens with DJ sets and food trucks tomorrow, Saturday, April first, 2017, from 5-9pm at the Honolulu Museum School.  With the future in mind, bring your own cups and eating gear to keep it “zero waste.”  The exhibition plus films, workshops, and conversations continue through April 16.

So excited about the new sound component--listen up close and personal to futuristic remixes of Hawaiian classics in the Nano Gallery at the Honolulu Museum School or find the sets online.

The Contact Hawai‘i show has been mind-bending every year for different reasons.  It’s been a collection of different voices.

“We love jury days because of the surprises.”

Josh Tengan is Exhibition Manager for Contact 3017.  This year’s theme asks artists to envision Hawai‘i a thousand years hence.

“You never know what people are thinking until they bring it in. and often it’s just amazing!”

Contact changes tactics too—this year there are twelve commissioned pieces, part of the two tier selection process.  In November artists submit proposals to receive material support for works they might not otherwise be able to accomplish.

“So this piece is by Solomon Enos.  He made eight masks.  They’re bio-masks that humans will eventually use to breathe underwater. “

Bringing works together across time, Contact will feature a piece made by Bernice Akamine in the ‘90’s.  It deals with homelessness.

“It’s looking at homelessness specifically within Native Hawaiian populations.  Our curator and jurors have chosen to include this piece because of its ongoing relevance today.  So we’re really excited to have an outdoor installation that people will immediately notice once they come into the grounds.”

Do not miss the new audio component!  Four DJ’s were commissioned to take a Hawaiian music track and reinterpret it for the future. 

Marika Emi:  “We have an extremely dystopian version of a Hawaiian chant about Pele.  It’s actually quite frightening.  The same person, Davey Shindig, did an extremely ambient version of Aloha ‘Oe, I believe the introduction to the song has been stretched to three or four minutes.  It’s actually a really beautiful piece.“

The same person, Davey Shindig, did an ambient version of Aloha ‘Oe.  And you can find the DJ mixes in the Nano Gallery or online at the contact Hawai‘i website.

Artworks in this show take varied approaches to Hawai‘i 3017.  UH Architecture doctoral candidate Tristan Bassingthwaite was part of the Space Exploration Analog Simulation for a year on Mauna Loa.  He’ll be presenting parts of his dissertation dealing with habitation in extreme environments, drilling rigs, submarines, Mars expeditions, etc. And that could apply to Hawai‘i.

“I’m trying to work on habitats that would allow you to live someplace like that permanently or for a number of years and still maintain the appropriate levels of social complexity, psychological complexity that would allow you to stay a healthy person.”

“if we were to say, have limited resources because we haven’t been treating the environment appropriately, which we’re doing,  and our population expanded, which it always does, you’re going to have to put those people somewhere and keep them happy and ensure we don’t end up with just racks of people plugged into the matrix because that’s the only way you can have the room to stretch your legs anymore.”

As part of the Contact conversation series, Bassingthwaite will share what he’s learned we need and how technology will play a role—like Augmented Reality, beyond Virtual Reality, this is projectors in your glasses.

“I could look up and it would look like there was clouds or jellyfish floating around the room or I could make my entire bed here a Minecraft world and move blocks around and it would just overlay information onto the actual physical world.”

We don’t know if this would be AS satisfying ultimately but Bassingthwaighte points out our digital lives and selves are already integrated with actual reality.  How many times a week do you talk to your family?

”How much of your life are they, versus the people you might see everyday in the Lord of the Rings Universe?  The computer and things you can do on it are weirdly integrating themselves into our lives and once we get that next level of immersion with augmented reality and VR and the like, there’s are going to be new possibilities.”

Possibilities—Contact works them all, grassroots.

Tristan Bassingthwaighte specializes in human habitation in extreme environments, He says, with the damage humans are wreaking on the environment, exacting stewardship of resources and excellent architecture will be needed for survival.
Credit noe tanigawa

“It’s really just a fun time to get together and spend time together.”

Everyone’s invited

Special programming continues through April 16 including a talk by Bassingthwaighte, a printmaking workshop, and more:

Mauna Loa to Mars: Architecture Futures for Extreme Environments

TUESDAY, April 11  |  6:30pm | Honolulu Museum of Art School

Human space travel and colonizing distant planets no longer exist only in the futuristic narratives of science fiction.  From August 2015-2016, Tristan Bassingthwaighte (D.Arch candidate UH-Mānoa) joined the fourth Hawaii Space Exploration Analog Simulation (HI SEAS) mission, a yearlong Mars-simulation program on the slopes of Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi Island.

Bassingthwaighte’s work focuses on architecture and design for extreme environments and outer space, focuses on the physical, social, and psychological needs of future scientists and astronauts.  He will be speaking with visitors about his experience in the simulation and will presenting parts of his doctoral research as a part of CONTACT 3017: Hawaiʻi in a Thousand Years public program.

A Universe of Islands with the UH Art Club

SATURDAY, April 8  |  10am–1pm | Honolulu Museum of Art School

A Universe of Islands explores the idea of nationalities and borders when their existence is more nebulous than ever. Interact with other travelers as you craft your own passport in this printmaking workshop. Collect stamps of imagined explorers and settlers from the far future, and be a part of rethinking our place as we leave the world behind and return to the stars.