Jordana Maisie [Close Encounters]
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The Nelson Meers Foundation supported the exhibition of Jordana Maisie's Close Encounters installation at Federation Square, Melbourne in June 2012.

Jordana Maisie is an Australian artist known for her interactive and sculptural design, she makes works that encourage a visceral audience experience by interacting with the spaces for which they are created.

Close Encounters was a large-scale, 6.5m diameter interactive sculpture, which took the form of a UFO. The installation provoked audience participation through the use of wireless text messaging technology and the curved mirror surface which reflected ‘visitors’ as they move under the sculpture. The audience was invited to text the phone number displayed on the LED marquee (embedded into the circumference of the spaceship), and respond to the “aliens” text based provocations. By responding, the audience entered a dialogue with the anonymous "alien" on the other end of the line, co-creating a real time narrative as their conversation unfolded.

Raised 3 metres off the ground, from a distance it appeared as if a luminous UFO was hovering above the undulating audience, transmitting messages to the crowd as they moved through the festival. At night, a shaft of light beat down on the ground as if aliens were preparing to beam someone up into the craft and take off.

Why did we fund this project? We were excited by the way in which Close Encounters had been conceived to bridge the gap between the way art and music are experienced within Australian festival culture, bringing non-art specific communities together through their participation and interaction with the installation.