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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Costello, workbooks

Art Studio Week 7, 7-11 Sept

Photography with Peter Miles, Debarking wood, Planning works for Exposure and Artist Talk


I'm so delighted with these photographs of the cicada shell, made possible thanks to enormous assistance from Peter. The images show the complexity and beauty of the chitin shell that remains after the cicada has crawled out from its exoskeleton - every detail is retained, down to the minute tubes of each hair. In the first image you can feel the energy required to tear the shell apart in order to release the cicada, and it seems as if there is a presence behind the eyes even though the cicada no longer remains. The second image will be enlarged to half human size so viewers can experience a sense of encasement and a disruption of the human-nonhuman hierarchy.


Using a chisel and hammer I debarked a section of the 110 year-old pohutukawa trunk between the inner bark layer and the sapwood, where the phloem and cambium grow. It was surprising to find that the bark varied in width around the trunk, which I discovered is the tree's mechanism to grow straight. The peelings were fascinating, especially at the junctions of knots. There were places where the sapwood rippled and curved, and the contrast in smoothness of the sapwood compared to the roughness of the bark was captivating. Both sides of the bark hold interesting stories, again like the case of the cicada shell. It seems encasement is a connecting theme!

Here is a link to that explains tree structure and growth.

Images sourced from

3. EXPOSURE Exposure meeting to introduce the CoCA events crew, looking at Exposure under the various Covid alert levels and looking at the profile forms to be filled out for web

presence e.g. the forms the techs and Bryce will need to start allocating equipment and


This is my request :

  • Type of work - (i) Formal qualities 50 words max: - 1x floor sculptural work, approx. 1.8m x 1m - 1x large photograph, approx. 1.8m x 1m - 1x audio recording (ii) Themes/aesthetics 50 words max: Collecting hundreds of discarded cicada shells (kihikihi wāwā), pōhutukawa stamen and wood from my local area has led to an exploration of the narratives and materiality of these natural objects and a curiosity in the interrelationship between art and science to further our understanding of non-human living forms.

  • Type of space preferred - A quiet space! It doesn’t need to have natural lighting

  • Furniture requests - None

  • AV requests - Audio system required


Shannon shared an interview with NZ artist Kate Newby (masters student at Massey) who lives and works in Brooklyn, USA. Kate travels the world installing site responsive art installations that focus on collecting words, broken glass and detritus, and artifacts from each location. She describes her work as "casual not formal" and "tries to incorporate take ownership of the space, sometime wrestling with institutions, to make work that is off the grid." Her works are a surprising response to site, and all the more so because she begins without any concept plans and the projects are created in a very short timeframe.

Kate Newby, Wild is the Night. Images sourced from

Wild is the Night, an exhibition at Institut d'Art Contemporain, was completed in 3 weeks with the assistance of local art students. Together, they made hundreds of ceramic tiles, braided rope to wrap the whole building and its neighbouring site, collected tiny rocks and made small ceramic pieces reminiscent of the detritus in the locale, all in an effort to resonate with the "observations of those who live there".

Kate describes herself as a cultural tourist, who moves through a location without asking permission to interact. Her production "engages the social dynamic" and she enjoys the spontaneity of not knowing what artwork will emerge.


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