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Into The Open audio descriptions and transcripts, and accessibility info

Listen to audio descriptions of the artworks or read their transcripts.

Into the Open was a programme of moving-image artworks projected along the Wellington waterfront as part of the 2020 New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

Audio descriptions were created for each artwork by Te Papa audio describer Judith Jones, and the sound files and transcripts were available through the Festival and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa websites during the Festival.

With the agreement of Te Papa and the artists, these are now licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence. This means that you are free to copy, distribute, and remix this sound recording, as long as you attribute Te Papa, do not use the material for commercial purposes, and abide by the other licence terms.

Audio descriptions

Transcripts

Introduction

Kia ora. I’m Judith Jones, audio-describer at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Welcome to the audio descriptions for Into the Open – a programme of moving-image artworks that will be projected at multiple sites along the Wellington waterfront throughout the Festival.

Five different works will be shown each week (starting on a Saturday) and audio-description for these is available for you to listen to during that week. These descriptions will be tracks two to six.

Each audio description begins with reading the initial screen image, which has the work’s title, date and artist. Each title screen also has the logos of New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Te Papa, and Toi Art.

I’ll then talk about where and how the work is displayed and how long it is.

Each film plays on a continuous loop throughout the evening.

The audio description describes the visual aspects of the work in narrative sequence. 

When there are end credits for the art works, they can be found as a link on the Into the Open webpage.

Treasures left by Our Ancestors, 2016

Ana Iti (Te Rarawa) (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected high onto the west side of Te Papa, facing the Taranaki Street wharf.

The image is 16 metres long and nine metres high. This work is shown without sound.

This museum wall is clad in grey and yellow stone panels. Below the screen, is a huge round window. The museum will be closed to the public, but some light may show through this. Between the wall and the wharf area, there are the trees of Bush City, and the wall surrounding it.

This moving-image art work is just over 15 minutes long. I’ll mostly be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

Artist Ana Iti stands in lightly-lit silhouette, facing away from us, looking at the first museum diorama, behind its large window. She has short dark hair, cut in a straight line under her ears and a high fringe at the front. She wears dark clothes, a long sleeved top and fitting pants.

She shrugs her shoulders a little then half kneels, crouches, still facing away from us.

The diorama is framed at the left by a rough overhanging wall, it’s as if the museum guests are underneath the overhang looking out. Beyond the shelter of the rocky roof, there’s a short ledge, sandy, with bits of branches on the dusty ground. Beyond, a hilly landscape of rock formations, gives way to scrubby tussock and bush.

High on the display glass in front of the rock wall roof, there’s the small, indistinct reflection of a display case opposite.

A child stands on the right of the ledge, perhaps about four years old. Facing towards us, their young child’s tummy protrudes as they reach their arms up to drink from a gourd they hold above them. They wear a brief loin cloth, and a circular object on a cord around their neck.

A woman faces the child, her eyes closed, perhaps to the sunlight. She sits side on, wrapped in a fibre cloak that reaches to her lower back, just grazing the ground. Her curly dark hair reaches almost as long down her back.

To the left, another woman faces into the cave, reaching her right hand forward, as if perhaps to draw on the inner wall. She wears a fibre piupiu, a skirt-like garment hanging from a belt round her hips. Two large shapes, maybe shells, hang from a cord around her neck and rest on her upper chest.

Museum visitors enter the scene, from our right. They pass this first of the diorama displays, engage with it and/or continue on beside it, or make a slight turn towards us, towards other displays to their left.

Around twenty people come and go, mostly from right to left of the screen but one child in a red hat scoots from the left and then back again. There are groups, at times together, then taking different directions, people who seem to be tourists, people taking it slow, people in a hurry.

Ana remains a central silhouette, facing the woman who faces away from the cave. She’s mostly quite still, but moves, shifts, every so often, not much, just enough to keep her pose steady and maintain an intense focus.

After around four and a half minutes, Ana becomes a little restless, shifting, rebalancing. Then she stands up, pushing a hand against her knee, she shakes her legs out, steps out her feet.

A second diorama. Ana settles herself, side-on, in more a crouch than a full kneel. We can see her feet this time, her sneakers with white treaded soles and the New Balance N logo on the sides. Her weight is balanced between one foot almost fully on the floor, just the heel raised, and the ball and toes of the other.

Her hands, crossed at the wrists, rest on her knee, and after a couple of moments of slight imbalance, she settles into position.

Two men sit on a narrow stony beach where a plain single hull waka has been drawn up. Behind them, there’s a painting of ripply water and a distant bank rising to bush. To our left, there’s a pile of dried and crackly vegetation, perhaps a low shelter.

To the right, one man, cross-legged, makes flints from stones, he holds one high in his right hand, about to crack it onto one in his other hand. He’s wearing a piupiu and a necklace threaded with shells, or maybe bones. His long dark hair tumbles down his shoulders and frames his bent head and expression of focus.

The other man sits with one knee bent. His hair is up in a top knot, and he gazes intently at a cord drill between his hands. Ana’s presence hides much of the rest of him.

Three or so minutes, and five passers-by later, Ana makes some sudden, but slight adjustments to her pose. She steadies herself by pushing her right hand harder onto her knee. Then gets up.

The third diorama. Ana is crouching side on, facing right, in front of two tall trees, and a man, also crouching, facing the same direction as she does. He places a restraining hand on the back of a small, alert taxidermied white dog, and holds a short stick up with the other.

Behind him, to Ana’s left and our left, there seems to be the rough fibre cloak of someone else, but her presence hides any more than this. The man and dog are watching another hunter, standing behind a scrubby bush, moving carefully forward, a long wooden bird spear at the ready, but the intended prey out of shot.

To the top left of the high display window, there’s the reflection of another display, with indistinct objects and white labels. And at the same height, between the broad tree trunks, reflected legs of visitors behind the camera walk back and forth.

Around 11 minutes, 9 passers-by – if you don’t count the reflections – and Ana is again shifting restlessly, jiggling her shoulders. The light from this case reveals more of her face, and her steady gaze. She drapes her right hand down to the floor for a moment.

Then she’s up, straightens herself, bends her left knee up for a moment, and steps out her feet.

Ana’s back is to us again as she faces the fourth diorama. She takes a moment to settle down into her watching pose. She steadies herself with a hand on a low ledge in front of two wide windows. This scene reaches behind two framing panes of glass, there’s a thick squarish pillar where they join.

This diorama shows the curved beach of a bay, the sea lapping in from the right, with cliffs on the far headland. The smoke of a fire rises from the beach.  A valley opens between hills in the centre, with stands of bush on their slopes, and smoke rises beside a small whare.

Nearer us, food preparation is in progress around another fire. Someone in a short rough-fibred cape, squats on a mat facing it, facing away from us, with a scoop and a basket in front of them, a kelp bag and gourd nearby. A small frame hangs trussed birds near the glowing embers.

Ana faces slightly left, towards another caped person, perhaps kneeling, also facing away from us. The rest of their body and action is hidden behind the pillar. When there is glass again, it shows a closer whare, and a gourd lying on the ground.

All sorts of people walk through the galleries as the camera rolls, Ana holds still and watches, and the figures hold the poses they have held for decades.

Some people stand alongside Ana, backs to us, towards the dioramas, and engage with unknown expressions with the scene before them.

Some walk right past the dioramas. Others move towards where the camera is, looking at displays beside and beyond it. Their bodies sometimes fill the frame as they thread on by, present in front of Ana as she is present in front of her ancestors.

Someone with a red shoulder bag blocks the screen for a while, it’s impossible to tell where their focus is. A man yawns as he faces towards us.

Sometimes people are heading back the opposite way, they look at their phones, through cameras, at and past each other.

Dozens of visitors have gone past Ana. She makes no indication of being aware of them, even as they stand right alongside. No one talks to her.

Around 14 and a half minutes, she’s making adjustments, re setting her pose… then, she straightens up, stands up, lifts her left leg up, bending at the knee and replaces it carefully. The work ends with Ana mid-way doing the same with her right leg, deliberate movement after all the active stillness.

The Last Post, 2010

Shahzia Sikander (United States, Pakistan)
Courtesy of Shahzia Sikander Studio

The moving-image artwork is displayed on an LED screen set on a 1.8 metre high platform, set in Odlin’s Plaza. The image is 5.76 metres wide and 3.36 metres high.

The sound comes from speakers alongside the screen.

The screen is set in front of a small stand of karaka trees, with the wharf and harbour beyond.

This moving-image artwork is just over ten minutes long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

The camera scrolls up, across intricately patterned walls, and decorated and curved pillars reminiscent of a detailed Persian miniature painting. These pillars frame a central figure set in a doorway, or perhaps a window. A man, brightly coloured, side-on facing to our left. In uniform with a long red jacket, with epaulettes and gold trim, open at the front revealing a portly belly under a white waistcoat, with gold buttons. His hair is drawn into in a pony-tail, perhaps it’s even a wig. He wears a black hat with gold trim.

A black circle frames his head, provides an outline for his pale profile features, the movement stops.  The black circle moves from behind to blur his head, his face, blots it completely, as it changes to a circular pink shape, tightly textured with curvy lines like writing.

Slowly, the colour changes to green, with a small circle of pink in the middle. Everything fades within the central frame, except the pink circle remains, appearing next as if set in a small arched doorway. But it falls, drops down out of the doorway, leaving a round ghostly space where it hung, through a forest scene below, and on down out of the centre of the picture.

The forest scene fills the frame. Soft organic shapes, in light tones, stand alongside and behind each other in the denseness of the woods. Their colours brighten, greens, oranges, yellows, and black. More details appear. Some trees bear oval shapes like fingerprints, some forms are smooth shaped, others have branches and leaves, and clusters of round fruit. There’s a hint of a road, and clearings. And above, the sky is black and banners wave from trees at the top of what may be a distant hill.

The sky fills with patches of red and orange, like fire across the blackness, but then they are gone.

As a voice sounds, the shapes from the trees start to drift, and others are formed, rising upwards together. Filling the screen, still flowing gently over around a minute and a half of slow gradual change. They darken as they drift – and then, in the centre, the man appears again. Still in profile, but full length this time, in a proud pose from official hat down to his shoes with shiny buckles. His hand closest to us holds the curved handle of a sword that flicks the tail of his jacket out behind him.

He fills more of the screen as the background changes to shapes in black, grey and yellow and blue, almost like the map of lands viewed from above.

As the sound rises to a crescendo and crashes, his head explodes into shards, then his body follows suit, breaking into myriad coloured pieces like a shattered mosaic. As they scatter, a wheel appears lower left. It has the figures of women for spokes, their heads at its centre as it spins, but no outside rim. Bold shapes of colour appear across the background and a French horn comes tumbling in, golden, with its complex curved tubes. It spins in the opposite direction to the wheel.

The larger abstract shapes give way to earlier colours and forms, with little piles of sharp cones. The women in the wheel and the horn spin on, then slow.

From across the background, strips of white, with red and blue, appear and tumble about, getting bigger. They could be scarves, but as they get closer, their shapes are clearer, they are forearms, the fingers of each hand clenched down its palm. The wheel and horn fade, the arms take over the screen, lining up one behind the other away from us, tumbling bright against the darkening background.

The colours extend across the whiteness of each arm as the background becomes dark. They become one multi-layered, moving white, red and blue shapes. The arms tumble with and around each other, twirling for just over a minute. The arms furthest from us start to separate into many arm images, like turning echoes of each other. Then threads formed of white dots, and red lines, curl across them all.

Suddenly, behind the arms, a human shape emerges, rounded, featureless. Draped round the waist with red and blue, not quite upright, facing towards our left. It’s standing and rocks a little on its left leg, carefully placed on a flat platform, perhaps stepping up or perhaps holding itself from falling back. The platform is on an orb shape below, with buildings at the top and intricate curling plant forms. The background is organic forms in the same tones as the wrap, the threads of red and white fall away.

As more of the globe appears, the figure tumbles over backwards and falls out of the frame.

As there’s a sort of splash sound, and the music tinkles quickly, the scene gives way to a circular wall town on a green background with a large angular shape looming behind it and thin flat ribbons of red looped across the top of the screen. The scene changes again. A person, in profile from the hips up, facing to our right, amongst a tangle of black growing things. He has no hat, nor upper clothing, holds a loop of plant in his left hand and reaches forward with the one nearest us.

Suddenly, through the darkness, the bright figure of the official appears, facing left, his colours creating a contrast to highlight the features of the other man for a moment. As more of this person in the tangled plants appears, it seems as if they are blowing into a dark horn shape, wheels spin in the foreground, a bird sits with outstretched wings. The uniformed man fades away. The black shapes with the man at the centre, are almost like paper cut-outs against the faded yellow and grey background.

The black tangle sits on a background that morphs slowly into intricate wall patterns, alongside a space framed by decorated and curved pillars as in the first scene. The black shape falls away and there again, is the official, in the doorway or window. But this time, he is at a distance, he takes up less of the screen. And his head is covered by the circular pink shape, tightly textured with curvy lines like writing.

The screen is full of soft shapes, in faded yellow and grey, with black bleeding through the middle.

The screen is fully black. The sound ends. The screen stays black for some seconds more.

Invocation, 2016

Yuki Kihara (Sāmoa, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist and Milford Galleries (New Zealand)

This moving-image artwork is projected onto the east side of the Michael Fowler Centre.

This building is three stories high. This side has three large geometric concrete panels, each around eight metres wide, and just over 15 metres high, rectangles with angled tops. Between each, there’s another thin rectangle, flanked by two concrete fins extending out from the building.  Altogether, they measure about fifteen metres across.

This image is projected onto the centre panel. 

The Michael Fowler Centre is on the far side of the main road of Jervois Quay.  There are some windows below the screen area, which may shed some light.

This moving-image artwork is seven and a quarter minutes long. I’ll be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

This is a silent work. But there is rhythm in the continual, ritualistic movement that takes place.

The work begins.

The screen is black. This darkness remains the background throughout.

The backs of two hands appear, from the darkness, as if their arms of their owner are folded across each other.

The person who moves these hands wears black sleeves, mostly only their hands are visible. Although at times, the black sleeves can just be made out.

The hands and arms untangle, the palms of the hands move out from the invisible body on either side. They slide back inwards, and the palm to our right lies across the back of the other hand.

They slip to our left, side on, the fingers unfurling from each other to the wrist then folding back down to touch tips, like the soft fluttering of birds wings.

As they slowly drift upwards, more pairs of hands appear below them, two, five, eight, gradually up to 14 pairs matching form and rhythm.

As the first undulating hands reach near the top of the screen they start to turn, their fingers briefly face us, still opening and closing from the wrist.

They progress down the screen and again we see the sides of the hands, facing to our right this time.

The hands together form an upside down u as the last pair appears and follows on up around the invisible trail.

The first pair stop, middle centre, opening, closing. Those that follow merge gently into them, until there are just two hands once more. Then they retreat into the darkness.

The screen is black.

Two fists appear, just above centre, the knuckles facing us, the one to our right on top of the other. This top hand flattens out, caresses the lower fist gently, then rises towards the top of the screen, caressing the air with the same smooth, open palm movement.

The fist below waves open and curls shut, and the one above matches this sequence. They open their palms and navigate towards each other, to the top centre, meeting at the fingertips.

This image morphs into one of many hands, blurring as they waft in unison. The haze of fingers forms into a skull around open eye sockets revealing the dark background. The skull seems alive with snaking fingers, the brow seems to furrow, some seem to be gnashing teeth.

Two hands peel away, and slide up on either side of the skull, up into the darkness above. They play together, then multiply into a twisting tumble of palms with their gliding fingers facing us.

As they cascade down to frame the writhing skull, hands disappear, it gradually collapses, becoming less skull in form until it disappears completely. The frame then melts away from the top down.

Only two hands remain, a matching pair. They tumble through the darkness to either side of the centre until they are palms facing towards us, thumbs out – and then they too fade away.

The screen is black.

The Embrace, 2013

Pilar Mata Dupont (Argentina, Australia, Netherlands)
Courtesy of the artist and Moore Contemporary (Australia)

This moving-image artwork is projected onto a screen that is fixed to harbour side of the City to Sea bridge structure, as it faces the Whairepo lagoon and the boat shed.

The image is 5 metres wide and 2.8 metres high. The sound comes from speakers at each side of the screen.

This moving-image artwork is just over five minutes long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

A bronze sculpture of a soldier, rifle on his back, helmet on his head, embracing another male, who seems to have run into his arms. Perhaps another soldier, perhaps a child welcoming him home. In the misty background, there’s the outline of the top of a mountain.

In white, Korean characters. In English the words Korean Film.

The screen darkens to black, then lights to a vivid pink.

The title white on the pink background, Korean characters, and in English. The Embrace.

With the bright pink behind them, two Korean women face each other.

Between them they hold aloft a disc with the Korean map and Korean characters on it. Two shapes like birds’ wings flow from the lower part of this, and they hold one each as they support the disc. They gaze steadily up at it.

The women are almost but not quite the same size. They wear matching long flowing red skirts, which drape widely from just above their waists, and white long sleeved loose tops, with pale green cuffs and long thin scarves tied at, and streaming down the front. Their long dark hair is pulled back from their faces, sculpted into a softly folded bun on the nape of each neck.

The disc starts to shine, light brightens the whole screen as cymbals clash on the soundtrack. The women come back into view. They lower their hands, now empty, and face each other, gaze at each other. The camera comes close to one, then the other. It’s as if they have seen each other for the first time.

They smile, slowly, warmly and move into an embrace, each has one arm high around a shoulder of the other, the second wraps around her back. They rest their heads against each other. They are still smiling.

As they hold each other tightly, slow tears start to fall from dark eyes. A close-up of one woman’s face, her mouth with white teeth and pink lipstick, a tear rolls down her check. The camera moves around the pair in their close embrace, as they gaze into the distance beyond each other’s backs.

It comes close to each face, capturing the softly thoughtful, emotional expressions of each woman in turn. A hand holds firmly, tenderly against a belted back, adjusting a little as their partner breathes. 

From a distance, shown full length, the women seem to be one entity, almost indistinguishable in gentle stillness and intense connection.

The screen is black.

End credits:

These credits are shown in both Korean characters and in English.

The Embrace. A film by Pilar Mata Dupont

Cast: Choi Moon, Lim Sora

Producer: Park Jaeyong

Director of Photography: Lee Seongtaek

Sound Design: Ash Gibson Greig

Film editing: Pilar Mata Dupont.

Gaffer: Cha Sangkyun

1st camera assistant: Lee Jonghyeok

2nd Camera assistant: Lee Minjoon

1st Lighting Assistant: Yoo Ahjong

2nd lighting assistant: Moon Suhjoon

3rd Lighting Assistant:  Kim Namyoung

Production design: Pilar Mata Dupont

Hair and Make up: Choi Jana

Head set builder: Mok Jinho

3d modelling: Thomas Drenth

Colour grading: Lee Seongtaek

CGI effects: Adriel Bong, Lee Seongtaek

Opening sequence: Lee Mire, Pilar Mata Dupont

Title design: Lee Seongtaek

Filmed at the Goyang National Art Studio, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea.

Thank you:

Ahn Hyunsook, staff at Goyang National Art Studios and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea; Thomas Drenth (the Architect); Michael McCall; John Ha, Lee Jeongsim; Nick Bonner and Koryo Tours.

This project has been assisted by the Government of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and commissioned by the University of Western Australia.

This project was developed through as Asialink exchange residency in South Korea, which is supported by the Australian Government  through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This Asialink Resident Programme is a collaboration between Asia Link, Goyang National Art Studio, and Artspace.

Logos for Asialink, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea, Artspace, Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and the Arts.

Lift Off, 2018

Ahilapalapa Rands (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected in two pieces high onto a wall at the east end, seaward side, of the TSB Arena.

The image area is 11.7 metres wide by 6.6 metres high, reaching to where the roof starts to peak at the top. Its lower edge is about 8.5 metres above the ground.

The speakers are placed to the right and left of a platform below the wall.

Frank Kitts Park is on our left as we face the screen, and beyond it traffic will be moving along Jervois Quay. To our right, there’s the pedestrian and bike/scooter pathway around the wharves.

Both pieces in the work run for almost three and a half minutes and begin and end at the same time.

One work takes up the top half of the screen.

The second is placed on the lower right below the horizontal centre line of the wall. The soundtrack we hear, is the track that accompanies this piece.

I’ll describe this one first.

It’s a coloured, hand drawn animation. I’ll be using the perspective of the woman in the work, her left and her right.

The work begins.

A woman sits in the centre of the frame, against a brown hillside and a pale sky with a few white clouds.

She sits on a green mat, with her left leg crossed in towards her and the other, slightly bent out in front of her.

The woman has brown skin and dark eyes. Her mouth is slightly open. As she sits, she is framed by her very long, black hair. It’s parted at the centre of her crown, and flows out around her on either side, swirling right down to the ground where it spreads out, forming a dense, softly textured, wavy hair triangle about her.

She wears a thin circlet of green on her head, threaded through with red – perhaps made from leaves and flowers. She has more greenery around her neck – a long thin leafy band that reaches the ground at both ends, curving out over her folded leg.

She has a sleeveless white dress with a v neck. Her arms are bare from the shoulders, her legs and feet are bare too.

Her right hand rests on her right thigh. With her left hand, she holds the neck of a rich brown gourd instrument – it’s rounded at the base, about as round as a dinner plate, tapers in towards the narrower neck, then broadens out again to a rounded flat top with a small opening carved into its centre. There’s a thread of small white shells around the neck, and she holds her hand through another smaller loop of threaded shells like a handle.

The woman lifts the instrument up from the ground with her left hand, and beats on it, once, where it faces us, at its widest point, firmly, assuredly, with her slightly curved right hand.  Then places the drum down, and puts her hand back on her leg.

She raises her hand and the drum again, striking a flutter of beats towards its base. She then holds her hand alongside the instrument, and tilts it back and forth from the wrist, beating as the drum rises and when it’s on the ground.

She opens and closes her eyes as she drums rhythmically, striking up-beats and down beats, looking not at us, but slightly upwards. She changes how high she lifts the gourd, how long it’s off the ground, and where and how firmly she strikes it, and the sound changes to match the impact. At times her wide mane of hair seems to shimmy up and down.

At around three minutes she holds the drum back on the mat, places her right hand back on her right thigh. She continues to open and close her eyes, and then, leaves them shut in the silence.

Now I will describe the part of the art work that spans the width of the top half of the wall. This is a digital animation – with a background of landscape that looks like a panorama photo. I’ll be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

A broad sweep of hills creates an undulating horizon against a bright blue sky. To the right, a few puffy white clouds linger. The hills are browny coloured, without greenery.

A swathe of grey concrete threads a wide road in from the left along the base of the softly curved hillsides, and surrounds a patch of land to the right. On this island of green with some scrubby growth, there’s a white observatory dome with the tilting door in its roof closed. Beside it, there’s a small square building.

Seven more observatory structures are set across the hilltops. Four smaller orbs of white hold positions against the sky to the centre, and just over a shallow valley to the left of them, there’s the rounded top of smaller one just beyond the hill.

The slope at the left of the screen is the closest to us, and two larger structures are placed above it. One is a simple white dome, tilting door closed, while the one to the far left is the largest structure, with a white base and clear square top.

All is still. Suddenly, the dome on the flank of the nearest hill, flips over and bowls down the hill like half an eggshell. As it tumbles across the concrete roadway, landing on the green of the island, the other structures start to jolt and shudder, raising a little way off the ground. The jarring slows, and the buildings bob and bounce more gently, though still raising clear off the earth before landing back down.

The first structure to move tumbles, hops and hovers across the foreground, the green of the land and the grey of the road. All the others rise and align in and across the air.

The two largest from the nearby hill, crash and cannon into each other on high, sometimes reverberating right out of frame with the impact. They drift in from different directions, connect with a bang and are gone again.

The smaller observatories, like a constellation of tiny stars, hover, then circle together and spin in the distance. They slowly form a line above the hillsides, while the two largest move purposefully across the landscape and the eggshell tumbler bounces back towards its original position. Then one collective lurch to shift positions, and they all settle back down to where they were at the start. There’s a moment of stillness.

Suddenly, the large dome in the foreground to our right, on the grass caught between the roadways, shatters into shards of white, rising high from the centre and cascading out in every direction. The little building beside it explodes at the same time, into a smaller fountain form of darker fragments.

The sky darkens to a deeper blue, the hillsides darken, the spray of pieces shoots out higher and wider. The four small observatories on the hill top behind fly apart, one after the other right to left, and their spurts of white pieces shoot up into the sky and rain down across the hillside until the right of the screen is full of falling brightness.

The tiny dome just left of the centre, barely rising above the brow of the hill, breaks apart next, followed by the large orb on the skyline beside it. Myriad pieces are streaking and falling. The far left observatory, with its white base and clear square top cracks into smithereens and another shower of white joins the sparking geysers across the hill tops, silhouetted against the dark blue sky.

The landscape of hills and valley, is shrouded in darkness. Shards, slivers and splinters of light tumble through the air. The sky slowly brightens again, and the contours of the land reappear. Along with the observatory buildings, the sweeping concrete roads have gone.  

The eruptions of light cease on the skyline, but the falling pieces fly on across the scene. Falling like snow, but as some get closer, from time to time, they reveal a harder shape, little rectangles or pixels.

The fall slows, then stops. The landscape with its warm coloured soft contours, and rocky outcrops, with the blue sky above, is still.

Close up of a woman’s face as she rests her head on another person’s shoulder, in a sad embrace

Caption

Pilar Mata Dupont, The Embrace, 2013, courtesy of the artist and Moore Contemporary (AUS)

Ruru, 2011

Denise Batchelor (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected high onto the west side of Te Papa, facing the Taranaki Street wharf.

The image is 16 metres long and nine metres high. This work is shown without sound.

This museum wall is clad in grey and yellow stone panels. Below the screen, is a huge, round window. The museum will be closed to the public, but some light may show through this. Between the wall and the wharf area, there are the trees of Bush City, and the wall surrounding it.

The work is almost three minutes long. I’ll be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

Out of dense darkness, the head and upper body of a bird, front on, appear. It looks down to the right edge of the screen. Then turns swiftly to looks to the left, in profile.

Its feathery head swivels down to our right, until it’s side on, it’s tilted almost 90 degrees.

It’s Ruru, Morepork.

The head and upper body of this little owl almost fill the screen. We can’t make out where it is, except for the reflections of trees and some muted light in its pupils.

Ruru slowly straightens a little then tilts its head to our right and gazes downwards. It hears something, perhaps, and smoothly twists its head to our left. In profile, its beak line shows as a curve, the top half hooking over the bottom tip.

Tiny, barely perceptible movements across its body indicate its breath, in and out.

Then it faces forwards, stares out calmly. We seem close enough to hear the soft breath through the tiny black rimmed nostrils near the top of its beak. If it knows the camera is here, it makes no sign.

Brown speckled feathers cover its head and body, blurring the lines between. It seems to have no neck, its head blends into its shoulders as the feathers layer lightly, as if they’re growing on the rounded top of an egg.

Its huge, round yellow-green eyes each have a huge, round, black pupil. These are night hunter’s eyes, these pupils respond to the smallest change in the level of light, dilating and contracting as the bird shifts its head. They stare ahead constantly, not moving within the sockets, even when Ruru moves its head.

Greyish feathers frame each eye in a disc shape, growing outwards across the head plumage, almost like a mask, under a V of an overhanging brow, with the top of the beak at its point. The beak is small, yellowy and pointed. A few stray feathers fluff across it.

Ruru observes, and listens to its surroundings. It tilts its head on that alarming for us humans angle, to one side and then right over to the other.

It watches, witness to a scene we cannot share. Fiercely alert. Every so often its grey eyelids interrupt its solemn regard for a nano second.

The bird moves its head about gently, at times the top of it is off the top of the screen. Twice, three times it opens its beak, its mouth is pink inside, moist and pale, shaped at the front with the outlines of its narrow beak. It has a thin, pink tongue.

Ruru shifts its gaze slightly down and to our right. Its chest feathers rise and fall as it breaths gently. Watches on, intensely, deep into the dark.

Karakia – The Resetting Ceremony, 2015

Sasha Huber (Switzerland, Haiti, Finland)
Courtesy of the artist

The moving-image artwork is displayed on an LED screen set on a 1.8 metre high platform, set in Odlin’s Plaza. The image is 5.76 metres wide and 3.36 metres high.

The sound comes from speakers alongside the screen.

The screen is set in front of a small stand of karaka trees, with the wharf and harbour beyond.

The man who speaks in this work uses Te Reo Māori, however, the words on screen are in English, so this is what I will read.

This moving-image artwork is five minutes and twenty seconds long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

Words in white, on a black background

June 8, 2015, Tewaipounamu (South Island), Aotearoa (New Zealand), Sasha Huber and Jeff Mahuika (Kati Mahaki, Poutini Kai Tahu), are on the way to the area of the Agassiz Glacier, between Karoimata a Hine Hukatere (Franz Josef Glacier) and Te Moeka o Tuawe (Fox Glacier) on the West Coast.

There, Jeff will offer a karakia blessing to symbolically un-name and free the glacier of its association with Agassiz and his racism.

An aerial view of the high southern landscape. Clouds roll across the hillsides and fill the valley.

Words on screen:

The glacier was named after Agassiz by German geologist Julius von Haast. He named over 100 places after British, German, Austrian, French, Australian, New Zealand, Danish and Swiss scholars, poets, sons of emperors, explorers and scientists (and also after himself and his son).

A river winds through a rugged, dry alpine valley, a little snow on a ridge to the right.

Words on screen:

He did so to endear himself to the name-bearers and to solidly locate New Zealand within White European culture while at the same time ignoring the Māori perspective.

A wide, braided river valley, flanked by steep hills, with a blue sky above.

Two people stand before a light blue glacier. Jeff Mahuika, warmly dressed in a roughly textured, grey jacket, buttoned up almost to the top, with white trim in a line down each sleeve and down the right of its back, a warm scarf tucked inside it at the neck, gloves and a brown hat. He has brownish trousers. He wears a large hei pounamu around his neck, resting on his chest, out over his coat. It’s flat, and made from pale pounamu, with a hole worked at the top for the suspension cord.

Sasha Huber beside him is hatless with her dark hair in long tight plaits over the front of her shoulders. She wears a long thick cape, draped over itself at the front, and closed with a wide belt. She wears a black polo necked top, with some embroidery or pattern, and has dark trousers. She has leather gloves on and carries an ice axe in her left hand.

Jeff and Sasha stand on rocks below the glacier and gaze up at its white irregular planes of ice. They walk up along the snow. Their boots have crampons, spikes to improve traction and avoid slipping, an old fashioned style, with buckles and straps. They have puttees, or something similar, something wound around up from their boots to below their knees. They watch where they walk.

The ice before them reaches up to the horizon, between hillsides, and meets the white sky. They stop, stand together, and look upwards.

Jeff speaks, gazing up to the glacier, the mountains and sky, gesturing with his arms. The woman by his side is fully with him in the moment.

Words on screen:

The wind blows in from the East. The wind blows in from the West. It is intensely cold inland. It is piercingly cold at sea. Light appears, it is morning, on ice, on snow, on frost. The breath of life.

Uruao is my canoe, Rakaihautu is my leader. Tutoko is my ancestral mountain, Makawhio is my river. Aotea is my precious treasure. Kati mahaki is my sub-tribe. Poutini kai tahu is my tribe. The breath of life.

I stand below the chipped ice, of my highest mountain that pierces the sky. And all your relations in the Southern Alps. The back bone of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

In days of old, these mountains descended from the sky father. We bring a cloak of freedom. To spread over you all. Let the spirits descend from above. Guide us in all our work. Let us all follow the tradition of our ancestors.

Hold firm. Hold forever. Yes indeed. Gather. Unite.

Jeff and Sasha stand, tiny, dark human figures against, the wildness, the whiteness. They look about them. The blue-white ruffled, abraded surface of the glacier reveals crevices, ice forms, and, towards the top, a gentle covering of powder snow.

They gaze steadily, solemnly about them.

The screen darkens to black.

End credits:

Sasha Huber

Director: Sasha Huber

Karakia: Jeff Mahuika

Transcription: Jeff Mahuika

Camera: Max Bellamy, Petri Saarikko

Edit and post production: Tam Webser

Stills photographer: Tom Hoyle

Research: Hans Fassler, Sasha Huber

Advisor: Kara Edwards

Production Assistant: Lauren Redican

Mountain Guide: Marius Bron

With special thanks to:

Kara Edwards

Max Bellamy

Hanbs Fassler

Heather Galbright

Tom Hoyle

Jeff Mahuika

Paul Madgwick

Caroline McQuarrie

Dale-Male Morgan

Lauren Redican

Petri Sqaarikko

Ann Shelton

Shannon Te Ao

Tam Webster

Marii and Paul Wilson

Supported by:

The International Artist Residency, Te Whare Hera, Massey University, Wellington City Council, AVEK - The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, Arts Promotion Centre, Finland.

Lash, 2005

Hye Rim Lee (South Korea, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

The moving-image artwork is projected onto the east side of the Michael Fowler Centre.

This building is three stories high. This side has three large geometric concrete panels, each around eight metres wide, and just over 15 metres high, rectangles with angled tops.

Between each, there’s another thin rectangle, flanked by two concrete fins extending out from the building.  Altogether, they measure about fifteen metres across.

This work is projected onto the centre panel. There is no accompanying sound.

The Michael Fowler Centre is on the far side of the main road of Jervois Quay.  There are some windows below the screen area, which may shed some light.

This moving-image artwork is just over four and a half minutes long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

A circular shape seems to hover in the middle of a black screen. Within this circle, the background is a constant swirl of pale pink, purple and orange, mixing and merging.

The head and neck of a female, a computer graphic, faces us, looks right at us, a pretty, doll-like cyborg in the centre of the swirling background.

She has white hair in a jagged fringe, in wide sections, white skin and pale lips above a gently pointed chin.

Her oval eyes are bright blue, with large black pupils with a reflective sheen across their middles. They are framed by long white, separated lashes. Her white swoops of eyebrows shift as her eyes do. 

She has a small, smooth nose, which, like her other features, has a pale shadowy outline.

Above her fringe, she has either swept up hair, or a hat – white and smooth, heading up to the top of the circle. There’s no way to know its full shape.

She blinks. Once then twice quickly in succession. She blinks again and again, quickly, slowly, makes a little mou with her mouth then suddenly opens her eyes wide and her lips have changed to pearly pink. She blows some tiny kisses, squeezing her eyes together just a little as she does.

Throughout the film, the movements of her eyes and mouth change. Her lashes droop and rise. She winks. Her mouth pouts, smiles, opens a little. Sometimes when she opens it, it’s as if a sound has been released, or she’s taken in a little breath. 

Sometimes her fringe sections curl up, layer across each other, as if they have a will of their own. 

She turns to one side, then slowly, to the other, her long eyelashes flicking up and out from her forehead in profile.

From this angle, it seems she is wearing a hood, a smooth shape encloses her neck and head. She tips her head down, revealing more of her upper head, but never the very top.

After an almost mechanical flutter of fast blinking, her lips change to bright red. Her eyelids drop again and again, springing open in between. The camera moves in closer, she smacks a kiss then smiles.

Slowly, her head fills up more of the circle, almost of all of it. She tilts her chin up, and regards us through hooded lids. Closes her eyes, turns her head to one side, then open her eyes and winks slowly. She closes her eyes, and the camera zooms in on her pert red mouth. Then backs away again as she smiles.

There’s a sense in which she is in control of every, intentional, action. The tip, tilt and turn of her head, the shapes of her mouth, the actions of each eye. It’s as if she knows we are here, each action is for us, to us, at us. Though she sometimes closes her eyes, and seems to drift away, there’s a glance of recognition each time she looks forward again.

The work ends with this figure back in the circle centre, facing us, looking right at us, in the centre of the swirling background. Still with bright red lips – until she blinks slowly twice more, and they turn white again.

Eli Jenkins’ Prayer, 2005

Aliyah Winter (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected onto a screen that is fixed to the harbour side of the City to Sea bridge structure, as it faces the Whairepo lagoon and the boat shed.

The image is 5 metres wide and 2.8 metres high. The sound comes from speakers at each side of the screen.

This work is two minutes and 16 seconds long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

As a choral hum starts the piece, the artist blinks, takes a breath, swallows, opens her mouth singer-wide and prepares herself for performance.

She sings silently along with the tenor voice of her late grandfather, from an original cassette recording in her personal archive. Its patchy, scratchy sound quality is matched by the grainy definition and uneven, visual quality of the image.

Aliyah, her head and shoulders, is central in the frame, but looking away to our left. Behind her, a grey background.

She has bare shoulders, pale against the grey. Her collar bones move as she breathes, as she sings.

She wears a dark hat, with what seems to be a white lacy underside of the brim, almost like a halo around her head. It’s hard to make out how big the hat is above this, with the picture quality and against the dark background. A large white circle shape, a decoration like a buckle, hovers against the indistinct surface, implying the hat reaches high.

The skin of her face is covered in a layer of gold leaf, like an uneven flaky mask – framing her solemn eyes, and her mouth as it moves, slowly, enunciating each word, or holding a note, along with the original singer. Her uncovered eyes gaze out from within this mask with an earnest expression. Her focus is steady, but her head moves a little as she responds to the music and the voice of her grandfather.

She takes singer breaths, breathing out for emphasis, and length, her mouth expressing the shape and tone of each word with commitment and intention.

Her focus is into the distance. As the song ends, and applause begins, she drops her chin slightly, closes her mouth, swallows gently, remains still, and gazes on out beyond the frame.

Asleightofhandmanoeuvringofastillimageintosomethingmoving (written as one word), 2005

Nathan Pohio (Waitaha Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu) (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected high onto a wall at the east end, seaward side, of the TSB Arena.

The image is 11.7 metres wide, which includes a black border on each vertical edge, by 6.6 metres high. Its lower edge is about 8.5 metres above the ground.

Frank Kitts Park is on our left as we face the screen, and beyond it traffic will be moving along Jervois Quay. To our right, there’s the pedestrian and bike/scooter pathway around the wharves.

This moving-image artwork is about eight minutes long. It plays on a continuous loop.

This is a silent work.

I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

This moving-image artwork was created by, as the title says, manoeuvring of a still image into something moving. The still image is of a horse, in tones of soft blue, against a pale background.

The work begins with a close-up of the horse moving right to left across the screen. There’s a slight pale white blaze on its forehead.

Manoeuvring refers to moving and changing perspective, and focus on and across the image and its background.

The horse itself as an image comes in and out of solid form throughout, like when something interferes with a radio signal, it becomes fuzzy for a while, then sharp again.

As the work continues, the manoeuvring creates an unnatural gait, sometimes jerky, sometimes smoother. But always, there’s the rising and falling to simulate the momentum of the gallop.

The horse travels on, different angles of its form are revealed. Its ears are sharp triangles, its nostrils flare open as dark ovals. At times it is side on, head in soft silhouette, then it’s facing towards the camera, its full chest a solid presence as it hurtles towards us. 

Sometimes its full body is revealed as it rises in the frame, a firm, denser form with powerful muscles. Its mane flares and flicks out behind its head and above its ears.

At others, the horse image blurs at the edges, and loses its form completely, becoming an indistinct merging of colour and patterns of light. The screen is washed with abstract patterns which flow with their own gentle rhythm, reform and then hold still to reveal different parts of the creature again – legs, muzzle, long muscular neck, solid flanks, the lightness of the mane that rises as the horse moves. 

Then, at around three minutes, it seems like more horses are galloping on the screen, suddenly, through the washed patterns of colour, three sets of long legs, and three blurred heads emerge, three ghostly horses rise and fall together, a flare of white light at their feet. As if a herd is racing across a wet beach on a sunny day.

Light and shades of blue take over the screen for a while. The head emerges more strongly and the ongoing manoeuvring continues, the still image shifting, becoming fuzzy then firm, its form obscured, blended then revealed. Light and colour play across the screen.

Always, there is the sense that the horse is present, rising and falling.

Close-up of the face of a ruru (owl)

Caption

Denise Batchelor, Ruru (still), 2011. Courtesy of the artist

A Guide To: Effective Implementation of Self-service, 2017

Elisabeth Pointon (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected high onto the west side of Te Papa, facing the Taranaki Street wharf.

The image is 16 metres long and nine metres high. This work is shown without sound.

This museum wall is clad in grey and yellow stone panels. Below the screen, is a huge round window. The museum will be closed to the public, but some light may show through this. Between the wall and the wharf area, there are the trees of Bush City, and the wall surrounding it.

This work is just over three minutes long. I’ll mostly be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

Inside a brightly lit car dealership’s garage workshop. It has a white, smoothed concrete floor. Silver paper lines the underside of the high roof with industrial scale rafters and pipes, bright lights from above, and high-set windows to the outside. 

We are facing a large, closed roller door. To the right and left, there are lower roofed areas with cars, one with a bonnet open, ladders, hoists and other mechanics’ gear.

In the front centre of the floor, there’s an irregular white shape on top of a black cube. Suddenly, this pops up, revealing itself as a long white air filled tube – about as round as a dinner plate. It’s curved at the top, reaches almost to the roof, and presents to us its face of two black circle eyes and a black line mouth.

This car yard air dancer sways gently and erratically from side to side. Two smaller inflated tubes reach out as arms from high on either side, flailing about as the pressure changes inside. At the end of each arm, there’s a set of fringy fingers.

Yellow writing along the bottom

A guide to effective implementation of self-service

As the smiling white figure wobbles and waves – yellow words at the bottom of the screen

For a few moments

Step back

Into the space

And ground yourself there.

Meet the space

With a straight back,

And open your arms out

Wide.

You are an estuary

For the world around you.

So, offer a gentle embrace

Making soft wave-like motions

With your arms and hands,

And maybe sway a little.

Someone, wearing a red cap, walks along the far right, behind the cars, and through an open door to the right of the roller door.

Words.

Make every movement inviting.

Make every moment a ritual.

Try it now.

The dancer’s arm to our left moves gently, the arm, to our right bends in and out at the elbow. Then they are both shifting again.

Words.

Ease into it.

That’s it.

Now release it all back.

Good job.

The screen behind the words goes black.

In the bright workshop again. Still smiling, the figure droops suddenly, tilting, tipping to our left. It flops down towards us, bending from its invisible waist, its arms hanging loose. Its face against its legs. As it was at the start.

Waltz of the Machine Equestrians, 2012

UuDam Tran Nguyen (Vietnam)
Courtesy of the artist

The moving-image artwork is displayed on an LED screen set on a 1.8 metre high platform, set in Odlin’s Plaza. The image is 5.76 metres wide and 3.36 metres high.

The sound comes from speakers alongside the screen.

The screen is set in front of a small stand of karaka trees.

This moving-image artwork is about three minutes long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

Across an open grassy space, a bright cavalcade of motorbike and scooter riders lines up, seven lines back, four riders across, 28 riders on a road against a background of lush vegetation and tall trees. They appear to be waiting, they are mostly still and steady. One or two take a quick look downwards or across their line, but otherwise, they all face forward for them, to our left.

The music begins, the riders travel in tight formation, from left to right over a city bridge. Behind them, there’s an unfinished tower block, with a crane alongside.

They all wear bright plastic ponchos – each line of four with a different colour - forming a poncho rainbow from red at the front to purple at the back.

Each poncho stretches out over a rider’s hands as they grasp the handlebars, the light fabric covers their bodies and drapes down the rear wheel cover. The ponchos have tight fitting hoods.

Between these riders the camera show us glimpses of white strings. Each poncho has rubber strings at the front and back corners of the long rectangle it makes when spread out. And others clipped along the sides.

The rubber strings clip to the corresponding places on the ponchos of the riders they are alongside.

They’re all attached, front to back, and across the lines of four. As they ride slowly in formation, the ponchos drape across them, blurring the edges of each bike, the body of each rider, into a colourful drift of fabric.  

We follow the travels of this group of machine equestrians as they traverse the city, to the rhythm of the waltz, over a bridge across a river with just enough room for their form to pass without changing, round roundabouts, along a road lined with small plants set in straight rows, turning in wide circles across an open space.

As a group, at a distance, they seem to move easily in unison, though their careful poses when we get closer indicate that this takes focus and connection beyond that provided by the strings. From the way they hold themselves sometimes, it’s almost as if sometimes they are holding their collective breath to successfully make a manoeuvre.  A rider makes a little bounce to seat themselves more comfortably, another puts a foot to the ground for balance. In one shot, a rider wobbles a little, as the first line of four leads the others towards us and those alongside rapidly adjust to compensate.

The group makes a wide turn, and the ponchos stretch out into rectangles of colour, the strings strain and stretch tight. When the riders are closer together, the ponchos fall more freely. The ponchos are not all the same, across their colour lines. There are two pinks in the red line, and some with lighter colour and spots in the orange line.

Closer shots reveal the riders have many differences. They wear a variety of headgear over the poncho hoods, though all are rounded at the top.  They all wear some sort of mask covering their mouth and nose, similar from a distance, but they’re not identical – some are part of the helmet, others are fabric, some have stickers.  Some riders have glasses or sunglasses.

Back and forth across the screen they go.  The camera comes in from varied angles, sometimes alongside or from the back, sometimes from inside the formation.  The focus might be on the connections, on the whole, on some or any of the 28 independent riders.

The camera goes in so close at times that the screen is filled with bright fabric, then pans out to show the cityscape behind the group. The steady, and at times less steady, waltz goes on for around three minutes. Then the camera travels up the centre space, from below handlebar height, showing the strings holding the ponchos together as they travel in formation.

Then suddenly, as the group rides directly towards us, the two riders on each side of the centre turn away from each other. The strings between their ponchos snap – a close-up shot shows how they stretch then recoil. A clip falls onto the open road, and rolls slightly.

The camera takes us again, through the centre, now opened up by the searing of the connections, as the riders wheel away to either side. And as they break away at the centre, so the others peel away, spread out and stretch their bonds until all the strings snap as the riders take different paths. The camera revisits these moments of disconnection, the initial break through the centre, the erratic detachments as some strings take longer to come free, the flare of a loosened poncho. The crowd claps and cheers. The last rider heads off screen, the roadway is empty.

End credits:

UuDam Tran Nguyen

A film by UuDam Tran Nguyen

D.P.

Nam Quan Duong

editor

Tu Duc Nguyen

Icreative

photographer

Phan Quang

Shop & Go Studio

color correction

Qui Tang

raincoat color cordinator

Cam Anh Luong

Thao Quyen Huynh

camera

Binh Van Pham, Dong, Thien Duc Dinh

casting by

Bi

cast

Minh Anh Tran, Tuan Huu Dang, Hoang Anh Tran,

Hong Ngan Tran, Minh Anh Tran, Trang

Dang Huynh, Long, Le Thi Tien,

Tung Tran, Danh Thanh Nguyen, Huan Trubng Nguyen,

Tinh Huu Nguyen, Diem Nguyen, Le Vi Trai,

Diep Thi Nguyen, Loc Van Le, Teo Dang, Tuan Nguyen

Ly Lam, Anh Le, Mai Thi Thu Tran

Tinh Pham, Tuan Van Le, Yeu Thi Le

Truc Thanh Nguyen, Tuan Minh Truong,

Tung Cong Truong, Thanh Cong Hua,

Ti Tran, Huong Le, Hien The Tran

assistants

Thao Quyen Huynh

Hoang Kim Tran

Tuan Minh Pham (Ben Liar)

Thang Ngoc Pham

Linh Hien Nguyen

Han Duc Tran

Tan Duy Quach

Hong Ngan Tran

Ao Ho Nguyen

acknowledgement

Phan Quang, Truc Thanh Nguyen, Dang Huu Tuan,

Ding Q Le,

Nguyen Nhu Huy (Zero Station), Tiffany Chung,

Hoang Kim Tran,

Minh Anh Tran, Brian Doan, Pip Duy Nguyen,

&

My wife and Family

music
Shostakovich’s Second Waltz

shot and edited in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietman

directed by UmDam Tran Nguyen

Copyright 2012 UuDam Tran Nguyen

For Mom

News of the Uruguay Round, 2016

Mike Heynes (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist and Circuit (New Zealand)

This moving-image artwork is a multi-channel installation projected onto the east side of the Michael Fowler Centre. This building is three stories high. This side has three large geometric concrete panels, rectangles with angled tops, set alongside each other but not touching.  

The centre is on the far side of the main road of Jervois Quay. There are some windows below the screen area, which may shed some light.

This work will be shown as six oblong frames with moving images, displayed with two on each of the three large panels. The videos are all quite short, each will loop continually during the evening.

This is a silent work.

I‘ll be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The artist reconstructs the slick, animated international film and television production company logos, in low tech ways, like 3D models.

I’ll describe all six works shown in this installation. I’ll start by describing the three images across the top line of screens, left to right, then the lower three, left to right. I’ll use the logo words as the title for each.

The works begin:

Top left: Miramax

A black screen fills with a large, blue, soft-edged and fuzzy shape, it sharpens up into a capital M. The letter gets smaller, and clearer, moving slowly and jerkily to the left of the screen. Its left edge flares yellow as it starts to move towards the right, and it reveals a series of red-yellow capital letters as it goes by: M I M A R M A

Then it explodes and sparks apart in a puff of yellow, to expose a red capital letter X at the end of the row. Miramax, in capitals, is the whole word.

The word films, appears below, in grey capital letters spread across the same length as Miramax above, framed between two straight grey lines.

These lines become white, as the screen flickers and wide blue lines appear, enclosing the words. These create a larger capital M, which appears hand drawn, lighter areas show scribbly lines.

Centre, top: New Line

A greyish square, outlined in blue, tumbles over and over backwards across the dark screen. A line at either edge of this whirling shape indicates this may be a model turning on a wire or stand.

The square comes to a stop, facing us in the centre of the screen as blue shapes like the sprocketed edges of projected or camera film, tumble in. One lines up exactly along its left side as it faces us, the other comes to rest at an angle across the top right edge.

Grey letters appear below – the top line in capitals, starts with part of some letter to the left, then reads, W L I N E C I N E and ends with half of an M at the right.

A grey line underneath this separates it from upper and lower case wording at the bottom of the screen: Time Warner Compa

All the letters, and the line, get smaller and jerkily line up below the logo – revealing the full phasing:

New Line Cinema

A Time Warner Company

Top right: Tristar

A white sculpted horse with huge fringed wings rising up and out from its sides, flies in from the left.

Its hooves graze the tops of soft puffs of shining clouds, set against a darker sky.

But its legs are set in a frozen pose of action, it moves along like a model, being pulled across the sky. The horse rather clunkily flaps its giant wings, starts to rise and turn towards us…

Then, it’s facing us, just right of centre, atop clouds banked against a light, shining sky.  Above it, the word Tristar, in capitals, hovers in mid-air centre screen, as if it’s been created in different layers which have not aligned, so it’s not quite in focus. It’s some sort of clear material, light rainbows through its misaligned layers.

The horse moves smoothly, its legs still set in the one action pose, its wide wings moving up and down, framed by blue light as it comes closer. It settles into place beneath the word – the tips of its upright wings almost touching the bottom of the letter S.

Bottom left: Paramount

A model of a soft topped, snowy mountain range sits against a bluish sky. One peak rises higher than the others, in the centre, and some flanks reflect an orange glow.

Several white, five-pointed stars sit across the lower centre as the work begins. They are the left edge of a curve of similar stars that begins to curl up around the right of the mountains. With an unsteady jump, the lengthening arch of stars suddenly sits behind the mountain range. It continues to reveal more stars as its leading edge circles down the left side of the higher peak.

The stars are all the same size, but they’re not set evenly apart. They seem to be cut outs, every so often a slight shadow shows behind one as it’s set onto the sky.

More stars suddenly cascade jerkily in at the leading edge on the left, dropping down ahead to complete an archway over the highest peak.

White curved letters loom across the screen – the word Paramount with a sweeping, decorative capital P zooms unevenly, diminishing in size, to settle into place between the mountain top and the stars.

Bottom centre: 20th Century Fox

A 3d model of the number and words that make up the name, created in a firm, golden material, perhaps wooden, against a dark background.

20th sits at the top, the cut-out numbers loom large, set on a narrow base.

Century in capital letters, is boxed in between this base and another below it. It’s as if it’s set on a shelf, with a little wall behind it.

Below this base, the three letters in Fox, in cut-out capitals, are widened out to fill the width of the line above them. These sit on another shallow base that is set on a wider plinth.

There are two smaller plinths, with different heights, one on either side of the central form.

Each of these is the base for a small, tube-shaped spotlight. Each little light has a telescope-like base that holds it upright and has a crane-like bend that allows it to move. They sweep white light back and forth across the sculpted letter form. The light reflects off its sides and beams brightness into the dark insides of the cut out parts of the letters.

They move quite mechanically, sometimes both directing a glow upwards, or moving inwards to sweep light from top to bottom. Other times they are right out of synch, with different patterns and flow of movement and light.

Lower right: Universal

A globe centre screen, spins continually to our right, against a blue background set with some small white shapes.

The rotating orb is covered in green and blue shapes, like the land forms and wide oceans of planet Earth.

The globe is held, and seems to be spun by, a very thin stand at its lower pole. The spin is always within the same plane, but irregular, and jerky.

Golden capital letters start to jumble into view from behind it on either side, from side on, straight on, one here, one there.

They arrange themselves and start to appear in a line circling in about equator height from the right. As the first letters line up across the front, those following can be seen right through the globe.

The letters rest on a clear, narrow, circular plane that holds them all in the right place – as they spell out the word Universal on their way around. The whole word isn’t present in one piece though, the initial letters are already starting to turn towards the back of the globe, as the last ones come into view.

The letters reflect lightly yellow on the clear plane, and then turn into jagged echoes of themselves as they disappear along the left curved edge of the globe, as it turns and judders in the sky.

They come around towards us again, from the right, the u side on until it makes the turn to straighten up to face us. Each of the letters makes this directional transition as it follows round.

The globe spins in its erratic, jumpy way, the golden word Universal rotates in the opposite direction, sometimes sketchy, fading, but mostly solid.

Into the Arms of My Colonizer, 2016

Christopher Ulutupu (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist

This moving-image artwork is projected onto a screen that is fixed to the harbour side of the City to Sea bridge structure, as it faces the Whairepo lagoon and the boat shed.

The image is 5 metres wide and 2.8 metres high.

The sound comes from speakers at each side of the screen.

This moving-image artwork is almost 16 and a half minutes long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral I

White words below:

Miss Aretha Franklin “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”

A sandy scene, with a small tree back centre. Each scene for this work is covered in this layer of sand. This bears the marks of many footsteps, marks that increase as the work develops.

Now, it’s quite dark, as if evening.

Someone is lying on the sand mid-centre of the screen, an adult of Pacific descent, on their tummy, up on their elbows, looking intently at their phone.

They have dark hair, a black sleeveless top and black shorts. One bare foot crosses over the other.

A child, also of Pacific descent, sits on their back, a leg on either side of the grown-up’s waist. The child has dark hair, long, tied up high in a bouncy pony tail, a red t-shirt and black trousers.

An orangey ball lies out of reach, to the right across the sand. Further back, there’s a mounted screen, playing the DreamWorks film Monsters vs Aliens, the digital images match the mood and pace of the soundtrack at this point.

The child is watching the film, but is restless. They lean forward to look at the mobile as the adult scrolls, shifts their weight and squirms around. The adult’s t-shirt rides up a little, showing some back. The youngster fiddles with their own toes, rolls off, rolls about on the sand, responding to the movie action.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral II

White words below:

We are often the subject of intrigue and ridicule by our friends, family and general bystanders who feel the need to remark as loudly as possible, “You wouldn’t never catch me kissing and dating no white man!”

The screen is black.

It’s brighter on the sand, daytime.

To the left, a man lies on an orange plastic lounger. He is Palagi, of European Descent. His pale skin shines as he slowly and intently smooths transparent oil from a small bottle onto and across his body and limbs.

The tree is nearby, but casts no shade.

Three woman of Pacific descent stand, barefoot on the sand, to our right. The two on either side wear long black, perhaps academic or choir, robes, over long white dresses. They wear their hair loose down their backs. The woman in the centre wears a long, sleeveless gown, in a shiny green fabric, her hair is tied back. There’s a microphone in front of her, on a tall stand.

Behind them, the mounted screen now shows the image of a palm tree with the blue sea and sky.

The women look upwards towards the camera, smile and sing. They move gently in unison.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral III

White words below:

Yet, as I began to seriously consider leaving the playing field to settle down with my brown sugar boo, I found it was the brothers who were missing something.

The screen is black.

It’s still bright. The three woman still stand on the sand, to the right. The mounted screen shows lush green foliage.

Centre front. A young Palagi couple stand, facing one another. He wears a grey suit with a white shirt, short dark hair, she wears a long loose, light coloured dress, her long blond hair streams over her shoulders,. They both have bare feet. She places a hand on his shoulder and he gathers her in. They start to dance slowly, as the women sing. The couple move as one, turning, making new marks on the sand, the woman snuggles in to the man’s shoulder. He rests his cheek on her head.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral IV

White words below:

Then there was my mother who had admonished me on more than one occasion as a kid growing up, to stop thinking I could act like those “white folks”

The screen is black.

The child plays on the sand, with a huge white rabbit. The soft toy is larger than they are, they move around in a circle, dragging it, holding it in front of them by the neck. They lurch off front for a few seconds, then the white ears of the rabbit reappear, then the sand is empty again.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral V

White words below:

In fact, this is an all-out attack on my sista-friends and our ridiculous refusal to look for love outside the bounds of our own race. It doesn’t have to be a white guy; I am imploring you to cross cultural barriers and date an African man, a Mexican man, yes, even an Asian man!

The screen is black.

The couple now sit on orange, plastic lounger chairs, central front. He is reading. She brushes her long hair. The singers stand behind them, in front of the small tree. The oiled man has been joined by another Palagi body builder, and they flank the group, flexing their muscles. The man to our left has more style and more muscle, the one on the right watches him sideways and tries to copy the moves. The singers dance, more energetically now, as they sing.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral VI

White words below:

If you know in your heart that you are a passionate, loving woman who brings some strong credentials to the table, why not try reaching out to the other side?

The screen is black.

The child sits cross-legged on the sand facing us, in the centre front.

To the left, a man, in black singlet and shorts and with bare feet, sits casually. Perhaps this is the adult who the child sat on at the start.

A woman of Pacific descent, stands to the right, a little behind the child, near the microphone on a stand. The mounted screen behind her shows a high waterfall, splashing down into a pool in the bush.

The woman sings, moving gently on her feet. Man and child look at her. The child clasps their hands over their ears for a moment. Then flicks sand with their hands in front of them, and piles sand over their feet. The woman watches the child as she sings. The child interacts with the man.

As the song ends, the child breaks their feet free and tumbles over backwards, beaming.

The screen is black.

Yellow Roman numeral VII

White words below.

So many of us are looking for love, yet if it ain’t Boris, Idris or Will Smith, we are not interested.

The screen is black.

The muscly oiled man in shorts sits on an orange lounge chair, on the left, with the huge white rabbit alongside him on another. To the far right, the less muscled, oiled man lies on his side on the sand, facing us, under a beach umbrella.

The woman singer stands centre middle, with the mike stand beside her. She sways and swings to the beat of the song. Moving her arms out and around her. When the music becomes instrumental, she jumps a little on the sand.

As the song ends, the screen darkens to black.

Watermelon, 2015

Steve Carr (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Courtesy of the artist, Michael Lett (Auckland) and Station (Melbourne/Sydney)

The moving-image artwork is projected high onto a wall at the east end, seaward side, of the TSB Arena.

The image is 11.7 metres wide by 6.6 metres high, reaching to where the roof starts to peak at the top. Its lower edge is about 8.5 metres above the ground.

The speakers are placed to the right and left of a platform below the screen.

Frank Kitts Park is on our left as we face the screen, and beyond it traffic will be moving along Jervois Quay. To our right, there’s the pedestrian and bike/scooter pathway around the wharves.

This work is 33 minutes and ten seconds long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

In the centre of the frame, an oval watermelon sits like a large egg on end, on a smooth white surface, its shadow dark below it, and lightly falling to the left. It’s green, marked with darker, blotchy vertical stripes. The wall behind is pale brown.

One from either side, two pairs of hands reach out over the watermelon. The person on the left holds a pale brown, thin, rubber band partly open with their fingers, and the other quickly takes this into the grasp of theirs too, as they meet above the fruit. 

Together, they slip the open band down the sides of the watermelon, until about the centre. They let go, and it snaps onto the skin.

Throughout most of the video, no more than the hands and forearms of these people are evident. From time to time the elbow of the one on the left comes into frame. Both sets of hands have bright red fingernail polish on, it flashes as they move their fingers.

The hands repeat this band stretching and snapping process over and over with a new, thin rubber band each time. At first they line them up, making a band of bands that rises above the first. Then they start to put bands over bands.

Each time the hands pop into frame, their shadows are cast on the white surface for a moment. The timing of the band placing is a bit erratic, sometimes, as we wait, it takes longer for the hands to reappear and another band to be readied, stretched out wide, then slid down and snapped onto the fruit.

Band by band, they build up around the green oval body. Each time the hands place a band, the melon moves a bit, a little wobble on its base.

58, 114,136 bands – the relentless banding has been going on for almost 15 minutes.

Suddenly, below the bands on the right, as the next band takes hold, tiny bubbles break from a hole, and burst, a little flurry of froth escapes the skin. The hole keeps on leaking this foamy juice from now on, it dribbles down the skin and pools at the base.

The band layering continues. Ten bands on, the next band can’t stand the strain and breaks. It’s held in place, it doesn’t fall, flips a little loop to the right of the watermelon, then dangles at the back.

184, 223, 255 bands. About 27 minutes.

A clear drop pops out of the skin below the bands on the left, and ever so slowly, slowly dribbles down to the white surface, followed by others.

Hands appear, the band is offered, opened and placed. The melon rocks, now on a little pool of fallen foam and droplets.

The band of bands is about a thumb’s length wide, and many bands deep. Its tight grasp encircles the watermelon that swells out above and below it, like a blobby figure eight. A tiny crack appears widening the hole where the foam fizzes.

Almost 33 minutes of slow, intentional band placing, the 307th band clicks into place… then the watermelon flies apart – the top half pops into the air and thumps down onto the surface to our left. The lower half jolts, and lands a little back and over to the right. The rent halves rock themselves back to stability.

Their pink, seeded tops are uneven, melon pieces have splattered across the white plane, demonstrating how forcefully the fruit has been ripped asunder. More is missing than is evident on the table, pink watermelon flesh has travelled beyond this frame.

To the right, a solitary band has landed on the surface. It’s almost doubled over, it’s bright pink from the juice of the severed melon.