He tito nekehanga a waenga
Choreographies of in-between-ness

interactive screen projection
by Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2021

interactive screen projection

Screenshot: When the system begins or if you click the "refresh" button in the middle, all 14 voices are speaking at once.
Here the animations, "He ahi mutunga kore" (eternal fire) and "He whakarua tāpara" (double change) are playing.


interactive screen projection

Screenshot showing the animations, "Ka mahuta" (eternal fire) and "He wai heke" (gentle water) and each of the artists names have been clicked.



     interactive screen projection

Screenshot with the animation, "He ahi kōangi" (cool fire) playing



For the March 2021 exhibition E Tiaki - Take Care, shown at artHAUS in Auckland, I selected 14 artists in countries more stricken by COVID-19 than we are here in Aotearoa /New Zealand. I partnered them with local artists who would serve as caretakers for the work of the overseas artist.

For example, Atlanta (USA) based, Masud Olufani worked with Ursula Christel, giving her instructions to buy a copy of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and then to cut and burn the book. Ursula created a wall installation for the charred book along with a drawing of Masud's of an anonymous Black slave for this exhibition.

Another example was the video projection, Nukta (the meaningful dot) where Pakistani Australia based, Narjis Mirza provided the materials which Michelle Mayn then installed as an interpretation of the ideas Narijs had discussed with her. This exhibition by these artists will tour to the Papakura Art Gallery later in 2021. See this page for details: sonjavank.com/takecare

However it all began with a zoom session where we heard of the effects of lockdown and how the artists' adapted their practice. A common thread in the conversations was a sense of being in an between space caused by a shift in what used to be the 'day to day.' As Robert Hamilton based in Canada, expressed it, "It's like living in a space ship."

He tito nekehanga a waenga | Choreographies of in-between-ess features short video clips of these 14 artists who initially all speak at once so in order to listen to a story, the viewer needs to silence each voice, individually, by clicking on the mute button next person's name. The next row of buttons underneath are 19 buttons solely in the Māori language where each poetic phrase relates to an animation that runs up or down between columns of videos.

Built in Javascript, each element relates to a disparate button. The animations relate conceptually to the tukutuku panels of a Māori Meeting House which serve as references to the natural world between the columns of carved ancestor poles. Here these animations are abstracted and more organic than the geometrically patterned tukutuku panels and the buttons also evoke multiple readings. For example the animation for "Tā te manawa" (Heart's breath/Take breath) is the slow descent of a purple column. The choreography of this work shifts conceptually between the natural and the cultural worlds and visually combines minimalist abstraction with documentary.

Shown
2021    BETWEENLAND May - Nov 2021  Geoff Wilson, northTec campus, curated by Jade Morgan + Maggie Buxton, 23 May - 25 June, Whangārei, Aotearoa | New Zealand

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