Sound Design Exhibition

An exhibition of music graphics from the UK and NZ presented by the british Council and the NZDA in association with Nick Bollinger and Exhibition Services.

At X SPACE Gallery, Level 4, A Block, AUT, Wellesley Street, Auckland from 23 May to 28 June 2002, and then touring New Zealand in 2002/03.

Message from the School of Art and Design, AUT

Message from the British Council Director

Have you any information or stories associated with the production or interpretation of any of the NZ covers in this exhibition? If so we would really appreciate hearing from you. Email us with your stories and information.


  An Introduction (152k)  by Nick Bollinger

  Long Life Graphics (124k)  by Chris Mousdale

  Trance of Savagery (212k)  by Jon Bywater

  Pressing Issues - NZ Cover Production (188k)  by Katy Yiakmis

Message from the School of Art and Design, AUT

In 1998, the Graphic Design Research team of the New Zealand Design Archive, located in the School of Art and Design began working on the documentation and analysis of New Zealand record cover design, in the Phonographics project phonos/index.php. The opportunity to collaborate with the British Council and curator Nick Bollinger in designing, researching and presenting the New Zealand component of Sound Design has provided a timely opportunity to extend and present some of this research as a rich and diverse genre of graphic design.

The power of album cover design resides not only in its images of rock glamour or fantasy, but in the way these images, brought into our homes and linked indelibly with the music we play, come to be identified with key moments in our lives. As baby boomers grow old ungracefully and the styles and designs of past decades are reinvested with a sense of retro cool, it is rewarding to re-evaluate these covers presented as visual artifacts within the gallery space. Seeing the New Zealand designs alongside the British ones highlights similarities and influences prompted by the globalisation of the music industry and the often deeply felt and highly localised reactions against such trends.

The New Zealand Sound Design exhibition is not chronological, nor does it showcase a series of individual, specialist cover designers. As contemporary exemplars of the Kiwi D.I.Y ethos, many of our best cover designers are also successful musicians, artists and writers. The need to establish different parameters for the UK and NZ components of the exhibition came from the very different circumstances – systems of production and distribution and cultural and political contexts - that led to the formation of these very different bodies of graphic work. In spite of these differences, however, historical and personal links between the two countries are also evident, and through enterprises like the Sound Design exhibitions, are explored and further extended.

The members of the Phonographics project, in particular Chris Mousdale, Katy Yiakmis and I would like to thank Desna Jury, Head of the School of Art and Design, and Professor Allan Bell, Director of the Center of Communications Research, Faculty of Arts, AUT, for their support in the realization of this project. Working with Jon Bywater, from UNITEC, has been invaluable in expanding the discourse about design and music. We are also most grateful to the companies and individuals associated with the NZ music industry for their assistance, particularly in loaning covers for the NZ exhibition. The School of Art and Design, AUT has worked with the British Council on a number of projects in the past, and we are honored to continue our association through this Sound Design exhibition.

by Frances Joseph, New Zealand Design Archives, AUT

Message from the British Council Director

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you most warmly to the dual world of Sound Design. I trust that you will find much to challenge, inform and entertain you as you roam through the exhibitions. The British Council’s work promotes the sharing of knowledge and information, creating opportunities for, and contributing to, the development of people and organisations throughout the world. At the heart of all of our work, whether in the science, arts, education, governance or media sectors, are partnerships between people, organisations and professional sectors from the United Kingdom and New Zealand. In the case of Sound Design, we not only have an excellent opportunity to celebrate and explore the commonality and diversity of a creative industry in Britain and New Zealand but also to work closely once again with the Auckland University of Technology with whom we have produced several unique and inspirational ventures.

Designed by The Designers Republic, curated by Liz Farrelly, and toured in New Zealand by Exhibition Services, the British Sound Design exhibition features work by fifteen iconic and influential British designers including Peter Saville, Neville Brody, Barney Bubbles and Jamie Reid. The 75 projects are arranged in chronological order and interspersed with statements by the designers themselves along with some key dates in the history of British popular music. Much of the work presented will be familiar to you: Britain has produced some extremely talented and adventurous designers who’ve made their name specifically through their association with popular music. Unlike New Zealand, the population mass has been large enough to produce and sustain a specialised school of designers in this field.

The British Sound Design exhibition was commissioned by the British Council Japan and has toured throughout the Asia-Pacific region over the past three years. Preparing for its arrival in New Zealand, I was excited by the potential of showcasing some of the best British work in music industry graphic design to New Zealand audiences. Yet much more exciting was the prospect of engaging more directly with New Zealanders by working with AUT to produce a companion New Zealand exhibition that truly explores, through a specialised creative discipline, the complex relationship between our two countries.

Thus we are very proud to present two discrete but inherently connected exhibitions. You can see two worlds, obviously connected but each very much its own with inimitable takes on often identical phenomena. The dialogue between the exhibitions illustrates uniquely the ever-changing, yet always robust, nature of the bonds between Britain and New Zealand.

Happy viewing!

With my most kind regards

PAUL ATKINS Director, The British Council New Zealand




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