Hello All. Greetings from Windsor Canada where I am currently presenting a survey
exhibition of my work and Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I have been
away from this discussion for the last week due to the installation spotty net access and
am trying to catch up. Thanks to everyone that has posted so far. Thanks Trudy for the
Ken's project for SCANZ will draw on both
traditional Matariki celebrations as well as making >connections between the
navigational and observational techniques of Captain Cook's time in New >Zealand
and Ken's own sense of himself as an explorer to New Zealand using current
electronics, >weather sensing and data collection technology to 'navigate'. Ken
would like to collaborate with local >Matariki) equipped with solar panels, GPS, and
sensors to collect data on temperatures. Simultaneous >to this data collection the kite
will also emit an audio 'bird call', taken from archival recordings of the >now
extinct bird the Huia, so that, in Ken's words: 'the Huia [can] fly again
metaphorically'. Integral to >the development of Ken's project is his desire to
collaborate with New Zealand artists, drawing on >local knowledge of Matariki and the
history of the Huia.
Gee , on reading this I wonder how I'll get all this done in two weeks!
Both Nina and Ken draw on ancient practices of
celebration (Matariki and traditional Nordic and New >Zealand festivities around the
Aurora) in their projects, which make connections between traditional >community
rituals and the ability today to congregate in virtual communities.
In my research prior to submitting my proposal I found the following;
"Maori beliefs hold that Nga-Mahi-a-te-Rehia, the "arts of pleasure",
originated with Raukatauri, Raukatamea, Marere-o-tonga, Takatakaputea, and other such
persons who are associated in M?ori mythology with singing, dancing and other such
performing arts. The arts of pleasure, which include weaving, carving, akotanga,
oration, problem solving (tupea), singing, dancing, story telling, feasting and game
playing - would be practiced prolifically during Matariki festivals.
Matariki celebrations were a dynamic, vibrant process that linked Maori to their rich
storehouses of pleasurable activities; to creative processing and inexhaustible artefact
production. Matariki was also an inter-tribal period for forging relationships and for
sharing ideas and technologies.
Games, as arts of pleasure, were an integral part of Maori life. Games were not restricted
to a time or a place. This was particularly evident during Matariki festivities.
Throughout pre-European New Zealand, the great Matariki Festivals were the annual catalyst
for a broad spectrum of games development, invention and experimentation.
However, during this period of joyful abundance tribes throughout New Zealand, without
exception, historically placed their greatest emphasis on kite flying. "
quoted from http://history-nz.org/kite.html
The 'spirit' of the previous Solar Circuit residency in Australia in 2002 and its
predecessors, Polar Circuit 1, 2 and 3 in northern Finland seems to be echoed in the
traditional Maori Matariki celebrations as described above. Although not conceived as a
festival, the Polar/Solar media arts residencies have evolved to include many of key
elements described above. This quote could be used to describe all of the previous
Solar/Polar Circuit events.
"rich storehouses of pleasurable activities; to creative processing and inexhaustible
artefact production. Matariki was also an inter-tribal period for forging relationships
and for sharing ideas and technologies."
It's this in mind that has driven my interest in participating in SCANZ. Primary to my
practice as an artist is the participation in these types of events. These events are
vital to artistic and personal development. Concentrated programs such as this inspire,
challenge, and teach. The social cultural exchanges are unique. This opportunity to
exchange ideas, workshop new ideas, share information, create new art work, create new
contacts, increase awareness of other cultural and artistic practices, make new
partnerships, etc. is essential for an artist and as a human being on this planet.
3. Working cross-culturally raises interesting
questions around notions of ownership and indigenaity. >Many of the SCANZ artists have
flagged both an interest in exploring this terrain and an awareness of >the possible
risks and (yet also rewards!) in working outside of ones own cultural heritage
Ken, you've stressed the need to approach such
culturally sensitive projects with an attitude of >collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Can we talk about different strategies of approach artists may >have in this area? What
does it mean to be a newcomer to a country and work with the
histories/>cultures/politics/social fabric of the local and the particular?
The more I know , the less I know. I don't know where I heard this but it seems
Misunderstandings, assumptions, learned stereotypes that are wrong, hearsay, and cultural
exploitation are all traps that can create all kinds of problems for a newcomer.
Collaboration, work-shopping, knowledge and skill sharing for me start with a
non-hierarchal approach to interacting with other participants . Everyone has a life
library of learned knowledge, ideas, philosophies, skills, etc. stored in their heads and
bodies and has something to add to the experience. In the previous Solar/Polar Circuit
events, the generosity of everyone involved and almost everyone we encountered was one of
the most important lessons.
I created the electronic kite project before I knew of the SCANZ residency. It's with
the research regarding going to New Zealand that a context of ideas to work within became
apparent. It's a draft proposal, an experiment that I hope will be a springboard to
something positive and valuable. I look forward to work-shopping the idea with the active
participation of anyone interested.