J.P. Werner
                 This site is an overview of the work of James P. Werner, artist and educator.


The selected works exhibited here represent the variety of perspectives James Werner explores on the topic of new media engagements.

WaterLinks installation series

The WaterLinks installation series encourages self-directed participation and offers the possibility of capturing personal, genuine and alternative narratives related to critical topics on water. This type of art practice extends relational aesthetic practices to unique and sometimes isolated, rural communities, encourages creative expression through participatory art events, and exposes the level of comfort and methods through which people in these communities engage these subjects and technologies.

WaterLinks - Active Reflections, New Plymouth, NZ 2015.

WaterLinks: Active Reflections installation was placed along the Huatoki River walk, in the city center of New Plymouth where people cruising the city might happen upon it. The following day it was installed at the WIT campus where a symposium was held. 300 hand-made mixed-media artworks made by artist Ava Paterson Werner were hung across the Huatoki walkway; passers-by could view them, could cut one down and take it away at no cost. Each piece was a unique art piece reflecting on the Maori culture, history, and local landscape.
     On the back of each piece were questions such as “What water do you come from, and “What is your water story,” which were translations of common Maori greetings that reflected the integral way that water is related to the core of their personal identity as a people. People who wanted to take one of the cards were asked to look at mounted collage pieces made by James that consisted of images related to a variety of water topics such as climate change, polution, and local conflicts on water rights. These works were installed with video cameras, and patrons were asked to answer the question on the back of the card, into the video camera.
      The end result of the installations was a surplus of video documenting individuals’ thoughts on water and it’s importance to them. Statements ranged from, “I like water for swimming,” to stories of nearly drowning, contacts with sharks, eerie sailing stories, ballads complete with guitar rifts about water and life sung in Maori language, and critical and compelling reflections of the state of water pollution and conservation around the globe. The footage reveals interesting points about technology interaction and the desire to contribute reflective comments to a global audience from this community.

WaterLinks - Island Reflections, Chuuk Island in the Federated States of Micronesia & Vanuatu, 2015.

WaterLinks: Island Reflections took place on the Federated States of Micronesia’s island of Chuuk, and on the island of Vanuatu during August and September of 2015. The video diary art installations were installed in market areas, community centers, schools, and crowed walkways along the beach. Using collage images with cameras installed in them, people were questioned about new technologies in their community and the effect of climate change on their island and region.
     The testimonies given in the cameras indicate quite a different relationship with the technology and its purposes when compared to what was observed in NZ. They have been compiled into an interactive piece called Reflective Islands. They reveal evidence of how these people currently understand what climate change is, and their perspective on what should be done about it, if anything at all.

WaterLinks - Brisbane Reflections, Brisbane Australia, 2016.

Sample of the Brisbane Reflections video. It played while people recorded their diary responses about perspectives on water. An updated version of this video has been edited to include the narrative contributions about water recorded by Brisbane public participants.

This video piece reflects local Brisbane topics and histories involving water. The footage is recorded from local spaces and taken from archives, museums, and historical references. The piece was also recording the exhibition space. Patrons were welcome to take one hanging mixed media artwork (see images below) away if they stayed for a few moments to answer the question on the back of it, using this video piece to record their response.

Flow Fort Knox exhibition

Flow Fort Knox
Video of the exhibibition in June 17th, 2017, Prospect Main.

Installations on site:

Huatoki Walkway Installation, New Plymouth New Zealand, February 2015.

CreateX Exposition Installation, Brisbane Australia, August 2016.

Flow - Fort Knox Installation, Prospect, Maine, June 2017.

Kennedy Gallery, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA. March 2017.