Janine Randerson at Vital Transformations Mauri Ora
This two screen video work documents the glacial meltwater from Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere (Franz Josef glacier) in Tai Poutini, the west coast of Aotearoa New Zealand. In Ngai Tahu cosmology the glacier is formed from the tears of the glacier goddess Hinehukatere. Since 2008, Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere has retreated one and a half kilometers, following a period of advance in the 1990s;
a sensitive barometer of climatic
shifts in a warming world. In the next fifty years the extensive network of 300 glaciers in the Southern alps are predicted to disappear entirely.
Randerson also worked with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision (the New Zealand Film Archive) to source and seek permission to work with personal tourist videos from the 1920s – 1960s that document the freedom of interaction the intrepid tourists used to have with the glacier. Today the glacier encounters are more regulated for tourists today; we arrive by helicopter since the glacier can no longer be reached on foot. The two screens oscillate between the archival footage, and HD video filmed by Randerson, accompanied by guides on the glacier itself, the valley below and the Waiho river formed from the meltwater. Waiho in Maori means ‘leave alone’, There are few living beings in this grey water, yet it is considered to be alive.
Live sound recordings from the glacier and Waiho river are arranged into a sound composition by Jason Johnston. The videos are projected on plantation bamboo screens.
Thank you to Susan Wallace of Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, Kerry Meyers of Ngai Tahu Tourism, Mason Spencer of Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Jo Mead of the Department of Conservation and Professor Jim Salinger for their input into the research phase of this project.
As this project weaved its way from the oil sands of Fort McMurray to the Southern tip of California, the thinking behind the practice returned to philosopher Timothy Morton’s observation that ‘modernity is the story of how oil got into everything.’ The visual and aural discourses of Crude and Flight have been mediated through this evocative fragment of Morton’s ‘ecological thought.’
One day, as I filmed mirages on the Mojave Desert road I looked up for a fleeting moment to see a contrail. I filmed it, and then thousands more over the following year. They become symbolic gestures for the whole project. The contrail lines that rupture the clear blue skies are repetitions of the same act over and over rendered ever so slightly differently. The collected database of these traces of our residual presence form the body of an ancillary video installation Flight (2016), which co-exists with Crude as a companion work. These types of compositions drift towards what Deleuze infers is a cinema of the body rather than of the brain.
In North America, in the context of the oil sands production, the infrastructure of this industry is everywhere. Its iconography of tankers, pickups, helicopters, power-lines, refineries, and seemingly endless pipes, and highway construction is so commonplace that it is rendered benign in the everyday, unless you take time to concentrate on it, or come to it with new eyes.
One day, while filming, I found myself on the side of a road in Palm Springs, framed on one side by hundreds of windmills—on the other by the desert reaching out towards the San Andreas Fault. A Mexican family parked their pickup trucks on the verge of the road next to a power pole. Over the next hour the adults busied themselves by making and then mounting a memorial to a lost loved one, likely killed in an automobile accident. Their children ran up and down a sand dune in the background while candles were lit and flowers were placed. It was a deeply evocative moment for me that in an instant rendered me both sad and exhausted. Through the feeling and thinking of these instants, in the field and in the studio, Crude and Flight emerged, fragment-by-fragment, sensation-by-sensation, as a collation of visual and aural samples, informed by living in a time affected by the production and consumption of oil.
I drew a line on the map that started at the refineries in Edmonton and finished at the golf courses and wind farms of Palm Springs. This was followed by an epilogue excursion that took me to the farms and toxic waters of the Salton Sea, where the residue of our wants leaves visible traces of what our future might be.
Thank you to Sound Design and Composer Teresa Connors.
Dr Janine Randerson is an artist, writer and academic, based at AUT University, Auckland. She has collaborated with environmental scientists on media artworks in Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. Janine employs a range of time-based media, including 16mm film, digital audio and video and other digital media. Her art practice includes both site-specific sound and installations, and single channel video. Her first book ‘Weather as Medium: Toward a Meteorological Art’ will be published by MIT Press in 2018.
Water, Peace, Power
This project explores the kaupapa of peace and the connection between water and peace. How does water connect to peace? How can the flow of wai – water – lead to peace? How can connection to who we are, to each other and the earth lead to peace for everyone and everything?
So this work will be a collaboration with other artists and consists of large moving mandala projections at night time coupled with sound created from elements of nature and a waiata composed specifically for these projections. Each element of the work is important and will contribute to the overall kaupapa of water and peace.
The idea is that the audience will experience this work with all their senses. Visually the mandala will perhaps send them off into a trance (subliminal) captivating them, perhaps some will want to move, others may just stare, perhaps some may be moved to tears as the waiata in the background projects sound out from the mandala and into the night. For others, it may spark conversation with those standing around them.
The audience will become co-collaborators as the mandalas visually coupled with sound and waiata send energy out that moves people. That is the idea behind this work – to move people, to move people to change, to move people emotionally because that is how change happens, to move people into action for peace through re-connection to self, to each other and the earth.
Note: kaupapa according to Maoridictionary.co.nz is a noun that means “topic, policy, matter for discussion, plan, scheme, proposal, agenda, subject, programme, theme.” Kaupapa is often used in reference to a policy or approach to an activity or idea.
"My art is an extension of me. It extends into all areas of my life. I have a passion for life and love and caring for the earth. Everything I create has a reason - sometimes that reason is just to be honouring the creativity within me."