Concern for the environment is a major driver of Intercreate projects. This is partly due to global warming and species loss, and is also due to our engagement with indigenous groups, for whom the environment is of urgent concern. This has resulted in projects in our local botanic garden, and partner projects that involve indigenous peoples. Our main cultural partner is Te Matahiapo Indigenous Research Organisation.
While we were very pleased with the SCANZ 2013 exhibition in Puke Ariki library museum, for SCANZ 2015, we want to locate art works along a river walkway, the Huatoki.
Collaborators on The Park Speaks were Ian Clothier (system concept), Julian Priest, Andrew Hornblow, Adrian Soundy, Aafke Visser, Mark Dwyer, Aafke Visser, Peter Wareing and Jock McQueenie.
Wai was a milestone in our collaboration with Te Matahiapo. Following the direction given by Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, we endeavoured to involve local indigenous groups. Via Jo Tito we were put in contact with Gordon Bronitsky, who was able to establish links for us to Navajo or Dineh people. This resulted in Andrew Thomas contributing the audio that was heard, and Johnson Dennison, a Navajo Medicine Man contributing to our tomo whakaari (dawn opening ceremony). This was an extraordinary event.
Using the system established for The Park Speaks we tested connecting across the Tasman sea, joining Australia and New Zealand in one integrated creative system. Trans-Tasman integration project has become World Tree Orchestra which seeks to connect trees globally.
Additional projects in Pukekura Park include Brickets by Pierre Proske. Intercreate has a resident Creative Engineer Andrew Hornblow, who assisted Proske with developing the technology to broadcast data as audio during dusk. This was a SCANZ 2013 project.
The above project by Nigel Helyer Songs from the Underworld, was received postively by visitors to the Fernery in Pukekura Park, and adopted by the staff who maintain the park and the Fernery. Some of the audio included chanting by members of Te Matahiapo, in a work that engaged with ideas of the Underworld, in both Western cultural and Maori terms.
Curated by Ian Clothier, the works in SCANZ 2013 3rd nature exhibition spiral from the Puke Ariki Museum gallery Te Takapou Whāriki o Taranaki (The Sacred Woven Mat of Taranaki) out onto level 2 and around the natural history and geology galleries, down the stairs on to the landing and beyond into Pukekura Park botanic garden.
The image above shows preparation work for the 3rd nature exhibition in Puke Ariki. The cyanobacteria was cultured by artist-scientist Professor Hideo Iwasaki of Waseda University, Japan. Professor Iwasaki grows the cyanobacteria in a form derivative of humans, with a head, body, arms and legs.
The cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria, and are ancestors to chloroplasts in plants. A chloroplast captures energy from the sun, and it is said that cyanobacteria helped to make Earth suitable for life. While on exhibition at Puke Ariki the cyanobacteria will be growing slowly, over a period of two months. Instead of the sun, the bacteria will photosynthesise with the light from an animation projected on to them from below.
The work of art and science raises several questions about the boundaries of life and our relationship to living plants. As Professor Iwasaki says: “They will be living at an interface which is hard to be called artificial or natural, drawing complicated patterns, and die.”
This is the middle weekend of the residency. Some went up the mountain, others gathered late in the day at Back Beach Paritutu.
Today the residency theme was harakeke/raranga (flax/weaving). Jo Tito led the day with a local weaver. First up was harakeke gathering then some making. The image above was taken using a lens provided by Deborah Lawler-Dormer.
Jo tito and Mako Jones, who led the day, gathering the harakeke. Part of the day involved hearing what harakeke means to Maori.
Nigel Helyer and Darko Fritz at Puniho with woven works.