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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Costello, workbooks

Week 6, 27 Apr-1 May 2020

Ideas on Vital Matter, Media Technical workshop, creating storyboard for video, completing Art Dissemination essay and Artist Talk by Richard Reddaway

2. MEDIA TECHNICAL WORKSHOP Mike Bridgman held an online class for those of us wanting to include a documentary/video in our practice. The class is an introduction into digital workflows to help us get started shooting video and sound from our phones, logging into Adobe and discussions about digital practice.

Crickey this is all novel to me and I blame Covid-19 and Shannon's work on my venture into this digital technlogy. I have requested a camrecorder and tripod which will be courier out from Massey and arrive next week.


(a) Storyboard

  • Vision - to explore the space where human ritual interconnects with nature

  • Focus - the story of the 110 year old pohutukawa trees recently removed from St Alban's Church frontage

  • Aim - to honour the space the pohutukawa trees created for Eastbourne families in the context of christenings, marriages and deaths (and any other moments!).

(b) Organising community participation from St Albans' parish This is two-fold - (i) requesting family photographs from weddings, christenings and funerals which have some reference to the trees, and (ii) asking for 10 volunteers to engage with the performative installations

Photos - I have written a letter to the St Albans parish asking for photos and volunteers. John, the vicar, will include this in his newsletter. I also posted a message on the Eastbourne Community Facebook page and received two responses from people who will provide me photos of the trees, including some that show the trees newly planted in 1910. I have also been lent a copy of a book written by Julia Stuart, a local Eastbournite, For Everything Its Season: A History of Anglicans in Eastbourne 1844-2009.

I have talked to Martin Patrick who has provided information pertinent to participatory projects i.e. health and safety and ethical considerations. There are several forms I will need to complete and approvals forms participants will need to do.

Letter for Photos and Volunteers needed
Download • 26KB

(c) Organising video production team I have asked Warren Bradshaw to do the video recording of the performance. He is an experienced digital technician.

I've never done a video/film before but at the very lest I've had ample exposure to this genre. Inspiration for me is Merata Mita's films Bastion Point: Day 507 (1980) and Patu! (1993), where she unwaveringly creates a new lens for New Zealanders to see themselves and contemplate the bigotry and racial injustices in Aotearoa. I particularly like the way she uses cinema vérité, or 'truthful cinema', which "combines improvisation with the use of the camera to unveil truth or highlight subjects hidden behind crude reality" (Wikipedia). The poetic qualities inherent in Shannon Te Ao's films also appeals to me, in particular his attention to the naunces of people's physical movements and interactions and the gentle manner in his telling of stories and the way he treats his audience.

(d) Planning Participatory Art Participatory project will consist of three parts - 1. Assembling wooden stools - Wooden stools have been made using offcuts from the pōhutukawa trees. Participants will assemble the wooden stools by attaching the legs.

2. Scattering pōhutukawa stamen - In the area in front of the church building (and where the trees grew) participants will scatter pōhutukawa stamen in the shape of a large square. The result will be suggestive of a red carpet or a stage floor. This area will be the performative space for the installation.

3. A chat room for open, safe dialogue - Participants will be invited to place their wooden stool on the pōhutukawa carpet (2m apart in consideration to Covid-19 restrictions). Within this safe “chat room” participants will be given the opportunity to share anecdotes and memories associated with this space.

Potential questions for participants participating in the installation –

  • What significant moments of your lives were enacted in this space under the pōhutukawa trees?

  • How does it feel to revisit these memories and share them within a new context?

  • Environments form and influence our experiences They create the space between us How significant was this space in creating your experiences and reinforcing your memories? What did the trees bring to your experiences?

  • This space has been disrupted and disturbed The church building is closed due to damage from the Kaikoura earthquake The pōhutukawa trees, planted when the church was built, have now been removed How have these disruptions to this space affected you? How do these disturbances alter your memories?

4. ART DISSEMINATION ESSAY I completed and submitted the Art Dissemination essay for Art in Context. We were required to examine 10 existing strategies for the dissemination of art. Mine were -

  1. Independent Gallery

  2. Dealer Gallery

  3. Art Museum

  4. Museum Collections

  5. Art Fairs

  6. Street Graffiti

  7. Site Specific Installation

  8. Instagram Accounts

  9. Artist Websites

  10. Art Competitions and Awards

Download PDF • 1.07MB

5. ARTIST TALK, RICHARD REDDAWAY The Body of Work I enjoyed Richard's presentation of his exhibition at Wairarapa art gallery Aratoi 'the body of work/ it does no harm to wonder', a play on his art practice which focuses on figurative sculptural forms. The exhibition ran from November 2019-February 2020 and displayed sculptural pieces from his time as an art student during 1980s, 'photo-montages from the 1990s, recent sculptural objects and new collaborative work' (Aratoi website).

I think it fascinating to reflect on an artist's body of work spanning 40 years of making. What was most interesting to me was his recent attempt to remake sculptures from his student days - same artist, similar materials but different results. Richard's interest in using his sculptural pieces as performative costumes and his influence on a collaborative project that was part of the show generated lots of discussion, with some students liking an artwork to KKK references. Social/political narratives are complex and are always layered in or over artworks. Masks and costumes for performative arts is an area I have not explored but appreciate it has a rich history and offers an opportunity for people to tell their stories and see themselves reflected back in a different context.

Richard's reflections on his collaborative project with craft artists in Wairarapa was instructive, especially his comment that he needed to offer something to the project (i.e. a list of instructions that he had devised). This advice, to offer something generously from oneself, was useful when I came to do a collaborative project too.

6. PLATFORMS OF AMPLIFICATION Theaster Gates, Sanctum of Bristol Notes from an interview with Theaster Gates on Situation

Timebased musical works -

  • melodic structures hold time and form, melody repetition - time stands still and musician can learn something new in that space

  • conflation, how materials accumulate, how time/history accumulate

Participatory art = Platforms to Amplify -

  • landscape as provocation of place in a constant state of becoming

  • materials and spaces have a life in them - a) constant state of becoming, and a b) SACRED space, inside sleeping, coma, but living

  • how to ACTIVATE LIVING ... inside space/object/situation while protecting sleeping potential

  • don't need to reveal life by knowing where it exists eg. back of life

  • Bristol Project, Sanctum how to make a big enough PLATFORM (village) so it becomes the work...grows to city platform...provocateur to engagement ... collaborate with city's materials, administration, creatives rather than big monumental public artworks

  • the plinth, or platform AMPLIFIES ... a platform of amplification


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