Wai is an exhibition whose main theme comes from Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru. Wai means water or flow and occupies a central place for Māori. The first stage of this project will be exhibited at 516 Arts in Albuquerque as part of ISEA2012, the International Symposium on Electronic Art.
One of the works in the exhibition Wai is a work by Te Huirangi – Te Taiao Māori.
In 2011 for Istanbul ISEA, Te Huirangi had composed a chart of Te Taiao Māori, the Māori universe. This was presented as a 2.5metre x 3metre chart of words on the wall.
For presentation at Cultura Digital in Rio de Janeiro, the chart was formatted as an animation using After Effects. The background is photo astronomy by Paul Moss, who also took part in the Istanbul show.
The work will be also shown as part of SCANZ 2013: 3rd nature in Puke Ariki New Plymouth opening February 2nd 2013. This will be it’s first exhibition in Aotearoa New Zealand, an important moment for the local audience.
The image above is from a presentation at the Planetary Collegium’s Technoetic Telos on Kefalonia Island, Greece. Previously this detail of the chart had been presented on Waterwheel in Tunisia and had been translated into French.
It is intended that the ISEA Albuquerque version will contain Portuguese and Spanish translations. Part of Te Huirangi’s kaupapa (policy) is that of recognising local cultures.
Clearly there is world wide interest in the Māori worldview and particularly in the context of electronic art. As Steven Kovats observed after seeing the exhibition in Istanbul “the interconnections between the Māori concepts of flow, movement, space, time, collaboration say much about the ideals of open and critical digital culture and theory today.”
Wai or flow is central to Māori who also speak of “Ika Moana, Ika Whenua, Ika Tangata” – fish, fish land, fish people. The Māori expression for ‘Who am I?’ – “Ko wai au?” literally means “Whose water am I?”