The Idea Collective Announces Two New Creative Collaborations

The Idea Collective at MOTAT has unveiled two new installations, each the product of a creative collaboration between an artist and an innovative New Zealand company.

The Idea Collective is an ongoing exhibition that celebrates New Zealand’s vibrant innovation culture by encouraging partnership between a diverse set of visionaries, artists, designers and technologists. Within the exhibition, five pavilions showcase the result of the collaboration between an artist and an up-and-coming technology company. Each pairing tells their innovation story in an abstract or conceptual manner within a themed pavilion. The Idea Collective is one of many ways MOTAT plans to focus on innovation moving forward.

Digital Experience Coordinator at MOTAT and project leader for The Idea Collective, Luke Diggins, says: “The Idea Collective is not a conventional museum exhibition. It’s an open space where innovators, artists and audience members alike can discuss and collaborate to invent new, exciting and original things. This exhibition is a complete departure from MOTAT’s existing model and we are excited to build on the concept in this next imagining.

“This second iteration of The Idea Collective is part of an ongoing strategy to continually reinvigorate the space. The exhibition will continue to evolve and develop over time, becoming the focal point for discussing ideas and innovation in Auckland. It is designed to inspire future generations of Kiwis by encouraging them to engage with the innovation process.”

The two new innovators were selected by MOTAT and Rawstorne studio, the creative directors and designers who worked with MOTAT to develop The Idea Collective, which opened in December 2015.A shortlist of candidates who had been recognised at the 2014 and 2015 New Zealand Innovators Awards, was whittled down based on the company’s individual success stories.

Sarah Johnson from Rawstorne studio, says that the installations showcase the ideas of innovators whose works are re-interpreted by invited artists. “This unique process leads to a non-traditional outcome that promotes left-field thinking on the part of the audience. Our ambition is that the audience is stimulated to think laterally and to aid the discovery of current innovators.”

ODocs and Armagan Ballantyne / Jon Baxter


ODocs plans to revolutionise the optical industry by creating products that can turn a smart phone in to a professional level eye test. As a social enterprise business, ODocs aims to achieve sustainable growth and a positive impact on society. Their first adaptor was open source and half of their net profit is committed to saving sight in countries that lack resources. ODocs won two New Zealand Innovator Awards in 2015; Health and Science Innovation (highly commended) and People’s Choice. They also won the Clinician Challenge 2015, hosted by Health Informatics New Zealand.

Armagan Ballantyne and Jon Baxter

New Zealand film director Armagan Ballantyne broke on to the scene with her breakthrough feature, The Strength of Water (2009). The film was invited to festivals in Rotterdam, Berlin, Sydney and Auckland. Ballantyne studied film in Australia and Europe, and developed Strength of Water partly through the prestigious Sundance lab.

Jon Baxter is a highly respected filmmaker who has created videos for Wellington Museum, Auckland Art Gallery and Sola Rosa. His work includes video projection, visual mapping and kinetic sculptures.

About the collaboration

The installation aims to create a deeper understanding of sight, how the eye works, and what happens when it fails. The audience will be able to peer inside an over-sized construction of an eye to see what’s inside, including the eye’s field of view.

Li-Ming Hu, Community Curator for The Idea Collective says:“We’re really pleased to have a highly regarded filmmakers like Jon and Armagan developing this work for us. Armagan Ballantyne is a highly regarded film director and Jon’s skills lie in creating audio-visual worlds. We knew that the combination of story-telling skills and the ability to devise a fantastic environment for the content would be a great fit for this wonderful installation.”

The Wine Grenade and Kasia Pol

About The Wine Grenade

The Wine Grenade is a revolutionary tool that speeds up the process of micro-oxygenating, or maturing, wine. Micro-oxygenating wine has historically been an expensive and inconvenient process, however The Wine Grenade aims to revolutionise this industry with a technology capable of introducing a precise amount of oxygen in to wine without electricity or installation.

The Wine Grenade has been developed in collaboration with Plant and Food Research and in December of 2014 jointly secured $200,000 of funding from a Kiwinet grant to commercialise the concept.The Wine Grenade also won Auckland University’s Spark $100,000 Entrepreneurship Challenge, providing the company with $25,000 in seed capital and six months’ incubation at The ICEHOUSE.

About Kasia Pol

Kasia Pol is a Polish-born performance artist, installation artist and designer based in New Zealand who works with theatre, dance and film companies all over the world. Her work explores and creates significant communal and participatory events that utilise performance, space and new media. Recently installations and performances include Lumina for the New Zealand Dance Company and the Prometheus opera with Mau. She has won the New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards for Installation Design and the Chapman Tripp Award for Costume Design.

About the collaboration

A four metre long object hanging from the pavilion will be suspended off the ground, slowly rotating. This shape will mimic the bubbling of the Wine Grenade technology and will be supported by the subtle sound of underwater ‘digital’ bubbles. A series of mirrors will introduce light and shadow and create a moving series of shapes. The audience will experience the movement, soundscape, light and texture of the Wine Grenade technology.

Sarah Johnson says:“Kasia Pol had expressed her enthusiasm for The Idea Collective pavilion installation when it first opened in December 2015. Having been through the process for the first five pavilions, we knew that not only did we require a highly creative and conceptual artist but also someone who had a good practical understanding of the third spatial world. We believe that Kasia holds all the skills required and we knew that the Wine Grenade innovation would be a great challenge for her.”  

The Idea Collective also houses an exploratory lab space; an incubator for innovators to further develop ideas they can then display within a dedicated geo-dome. Guests to the exhibition are invited in to the space to experience both the process and what is created.

The Idea Collective is open at MOTAT from 10am – 5pm daily. Entry is included in the MOTAT General Admission fee.