A brief encounter with Bruce Ferguson

By Helen Barlow

A few words with Bruce Ferguson: Videographer, visionary, party animal.
Bruce Ferguson, New Zealand director of Darkroom. Photo / Greg Bowker
Bruce Ferguson, New Zealand director of Darkroom. Photo / Greg Bowker

Describe your discipline in 140 characters or less.

I use video technology to create projections on to buildings, do stage design and make immersive virtual experiences for mass audiences.

The theme of the Architecture Biennale in Venice - what architecture can do to improve living conditions globally - resonates with Auckland right now. What pearls of wisdom could be adopted for our housing crisis?

We need to be thinking about the "have nots" in this world. It's been a socio-economic issue but now it's a generational issue as well. Adequate shelter is such a basic human right that to be deprived of it is embarrassing. Hands off, property investors.

What design principle holds true for life?

Randomness is a powerful tool, providing you can spot a good design.

What is your no-holds-barred fantasy zeitgeist party or event to work on?
As long as there's no advertising agency involved, I'd be happy doing almost anything.

Describe your dream living space?

The Thunderbirds' base on Tracy Island was my dream home when I was a kid. I love that mid-20th century design: open plan, glass walls, shagpile ... rocket launchpad in the basement. My wife Emma and I lived in Barcelona for a short while and we visited the Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929, which is a sublime piece of architecture from the master of "less is more". I forgot about Tracy Island after that. It's like being into Foo Fighters and then discovering Led Zeppelin.

What boundary, what new frontier, do you have your eye on?

Artificial intelligence and all the tech that surrounds it is a fascinating prospect. There are a lot of doomsday predictions out there saying Skynet from Terminator will happen. Maybe these people watch too many movies? The future doesn't exist, we have to make it and, from my experience on this planet so far, weird shit can happen. We still don't know what we're capable of as a species. Look, we're bringing the ozone back.

As you travel the world, how do you feel about it - what observations do you have about what's great about it, what needs fixing?

The openness and collaborativeness of the online global community is a real human treasure. We don't know how good we've got it. I would like to see the internet stay open and free for all. But that's in question now as governments and media conglomerates are seizing control of it and exploiting it.

What are you looking forward to?

I'm really excited about working on the World of Wearable Art show this year. It will be our first time working on that show and it's the biggest and most resplendent in New Zealand. It's really great to be able to work at that level in my home country, with my industry peers.

What is the greatest dance track ever?

I couldn't say ... but I do like Modeselektor's The White Flash featuring Thom Yorke, Trentemoller Remix.


Bruce Ferguson, of Darkroom.tv, is part of the NZ team exhibiting at the Architecture Biennale in Venice.

- Canvas

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