I recently spent a week in Whakatāne participating in Wakatāne Museum’s Volcanic Artist Residency programme. Given I’m not an artist I elected to use the residency as an opportunity to present a screening of the Govett-Brewster’s current Projection Series.
Projection Series #11: An Oceanic Feelingis curated Erika Balsom and is itself an outcome of the Govett-Brewster’s Internation Film Curator in Residence Programme. Balsom curated a programme of 11 films asking the question: what if we understood the ocean not as dividing us but as connecting us? What politics, what ethics, would follow? You can see the full programme here. It includes films by Peggy Ahwesh (US), Noël Burch (US) and Alan Sekula (US), CAMP (IND), Filipa Cesar (POR) and Louis Henderson (UK), Mati Diop (FR), The Otolith Group (UK), Maddie Leach (NZ), Rebecca Meyers (US), Philip Scheffner (DE), G. Anthony Svatek (US/AT), Francisco Rodriguez (CL/FR).
You can download a copy of the brochure for Projection Series #11: An Oceanic Feelinghere or purchase a copy of the larger publication here.
It was an early hope for the project that we could screen at coastal venues in New Zealand cities other than New Plymouth so the invitation to Wakatāne was timely and a good way to expand the scope of An Oceanic Feeling.
A big thank you and congratulations to Eric Holowacz and his team in Wakatāne for the sell-out audience and raising funds for Eastern Bay of Plenty Coast Care. Next week we present a selection of films from An Oceanic Feeling as we launch the book in Auckland at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in partnership with Circuit: Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand.
On Saturday I judged the 12th edition of the Estuary Art and Ecology Prize at Uxbridge Art and Culture’s Malcolm Smith Gallery. More info on the prize can be found here and some local press coverage here. Here are the four winning works from the finalists in the exhibition. More images are available here from artsdiary.
A new acquisition for my collection, this 1928 Martin Hürlimann photograph of the Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochin, leads to news from the Indian Express on the Keralan government’s decision to fund the restoration of the nets, a key tourist driver for the state.
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa curator of historical photography Lissa Mitchell writes on Louisa Herrmann, owner of the Herrmann Photography Studio, one of Wellington’s most successful studios of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Free Radicals exhibition is the larger exhibition here and features works by Rodney Charters, Bruce Conner, Steve Cossman, Oskar Fischinger, Richard Lomas, Len Lye, Jodie Mack, and the Parasitic Fantasy Band (Eve Gordon/Sam Hamilton). The title of the show is obviously via Len Lye, but the subtitle was taken from Pip Chodorov in his similarly titled documentary Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film, speaking of ‘cinema on the wrong side of the tracks’. Throughout the exhibition, we’re screening Chodorov’s film alongside the exhibition as well as Brecht Debackere’s EXPRMNTL documentary which explores the EXPRMNTL film festival held in Belgium between the 1940s and 1970s. It was here that Lye’s 1958 film Free Radicals won a prestigious 2nd place. Lye’s 1959 essay ‘Is Film Art?’ lamented the neglect of experimental cinema in the United States and declared he would no longer make experimental films.
I’ve just wrapped up a new programme for the Len Lye Centre’s cinema, our next Projection Series. This is the first dedicated to a single artist (other than the regular Len Lye programmes we do) and celebrates the tenth in the series. Projection Series 10 is titled Glitch Envy: Experimental Films by Jodie Mack.
The University of Auckland is proposing to amalgamate its Fine Arts Library into its general library. I used this specialised and internationally significant library extensively, years before being enrolled in the art history department itself. Naturally, there’s opposition to what is a much broader desire for cuts to humanities departments and resources. There are numerous pieces on the matter, a withering response published by the NZ Herald this week and a strange piece by Peter Gilderdale (from Auckland University of Technology) at the Spinoff. Andrew Paul Wood responds to Gilderdale here.
Deepa Bhasthi writes on her childhood discovering Russian literature through the cheap editions of Russian classics distributed in India by the USSR.
An overdue study, Lana Lopesi on the idea of Auckland as the world’s “largest Polynesian city’.
Chika Okeke-Agulu in Frieze with the most sound response to the Brooklyn Museum’s controversial curator of African Art hiring.
“3Essays on Imagereality is the photographic picaresque: a world of image-multiplicity, failed theory and a 24-hours reflecting on the image, the truth and the knuckleball within the walls of the museum.” – Paul Brobbel, Len Lye Curator at the Govett – Brewster Art Gallery
Haunted by photography and fueled by failure, Carlos Spencer-Bayard is an insomniac anythingarian boozehound, who is known to his friends and family simply as “Ghost.” A keen observer of the strangemotion of his own mind, he spends his days engrossed in the daily demands of parenting (i.e. liontaming), but at night, when the noose of nightmadness tightens and the turtle of thought is flipped onto its back, he wrestles with Imagereality. Understanding Imagereality is no easy task, as images are everywhere; and wherever images go, imagetheory must follow. Thus an imagethinker is a scholar of the cultural kitchen sink: nothing is verboten. Shakespeare’s Sonnets and potential self- slaughter, Gnostic intoxication, Gérard Depardieu’s inexplicable sex appeal, Talkreality (also known as Squawkreality), drag queens, author photos, absinthe, and endlessnessnessness: everything is permissible under Imagereality’s spectacular perspectival sun.