Mappings: Landscape, Memory, Histories Lucy Aukafolau, Gavin Hipkins, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Bridget Reweti and Layne Waerea
Curated by Sonali Joshi and Mark Williams
Presented in partnership with CIRCUIT
Originally presented by CIRCUIT at Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival, a UK-wide film festival in 2018, Mappings: Landscape, Memory, Histories presents a programme of artists films from Aotearoa, exploring shared concepts and histories of culture and exchange. This series is presented alongside our current wānanga/exhibition, UKU//UTU, to expand conversations around relationships with landscapes in Aotearoa and the wider context of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.
Invisible Territories | Lucy Aukafolau (2012 | 8 min)
A three channel sequenced video installation comprised of footage taken during Aukafolau’s first trip to Tonga with her father and uncle to their homeland in ‘O‘ua Ha‘apai. Adopting the role of an observer, her participation in the journey is guided not by personal way-finding intentions but rather attempts to situate and orient her experience of place within her father and uncle’s collective memory of ‘O‘ua. The flurry of activity at sea brings to life the importance of the ocean as a means of travel and communication, evoking the prophetic visions of the late Epeli Hau’ofa and his notion of a “Sea of Islands” where Pacific islands are connected rather than separated by the sea.”
An Unsuccessful Attempt at Chasing Fog | Layne Waerea (2012 | 7 min)
February 18, 6:43 a.m., 2012. Instructions: to chase fog from a neighbouring farm. Looking at the nature (and obsession) of land ownership in Aotearoa.
Ziarah | Bridget Reweti (2018 | 11 min)
Bridget Reweti’s Ziarah takes to the open sea in search of the remains of Tupaia, a nobleman from Raiatea in the Society Islands who was indispensable in liaising between Māori and the crew of James Cook’s ship the Endeavour on its first visit to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1769.
Can I Be in Your Video | Bridget Reweti (2012 | 4 min)
This work shows the construction of a camera obscura tent on an isolated beach of Te Tai Poutini. Reminiscent of late 1800s surveyors tents, the camera obscura tent simulates the three-legged taipō, a surveying tool Māori referred to as a goblin. The opposing channel shows the inverted tent scenes of Lake Wahapo and Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere (Franz Joseph Glacier).
Mai I Te Kei O Te Waka Ki Te Ihu O Te Waka | Jeremy Leatinu’u (2018 | 8 min)
Mai I Te Kei O Te Waka Ki Te Ihu O Te Waka (from the back of the canoe to the front of the canoe) raises questions of narration and translation by recounting two interconnected stories in a voiceover performed by the artist with quiet intensity. The first is in te reo Māori, subtitled in English, while the second is in English, subtitled in te reo Māori. Both tell of trajectories of migration and settlement that predate the arrival of Europeans in Aotearoa, of crossing sea and land in search of a different future, carrying the accumulated practices of the past to new horizons.
Yet Mai i te kei o te waka ki te ihu o te waka is not entirely devoid of traces of contemporaneity. Leatinu’u bookends his work with paired images that depart from those that occupy its bulk: to begin and end, he makes use of long shots of the shoreline, where the water meets electricity towers, power lines, and suburban houses. These indices of twenty-first-century life frame the narratives heard on the soundtrack, subtly casting their telling as a recovery of histories that have been overshadowed by the colonial mythology of European settlement as a supposed moment of origin and discovery.
This Fine Island | Gavin Hipkins (2012 | 12 min)
Shot on 16mm colour negative film, This Fine Island revisits Charles Darwin’s journey to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand in 1835. In this poetic adaption, Darwin’s nineteenth-century travel writing in The Voyage of the Beagle becomes a vehicle for present day tourisms, travel romance, and racial othering, against the backdrop of New Zealand’s lush landscape.
All films courtesy of CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand: www.circuit.org.nz
Lucy Aukafolau is an artist of Tongan and European descent. Based in Berlin, Germany, her practice is concerned with the theory of psychogeography and its relationship to the physical actions of navigation, travel and negotiation of space that reveal new territories and experiences.
Gavin Hipkins is an Auckland-based artist who works with photography and film. Over the last two decades his practice has engaged postcolonial, architectural, and commodity discourses via a range of analogue and digital technologies, photo-installations, and artist videos.
Jeremy Leatinu'u was born in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1984. After completing his BVA at the Manukau Institute of Technology, Jeremy then completed a PGDip in Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland. He works in performance art, video, and installation, often presenting documented performances as video installations. He has exhibited and presented collaborative projects throughout New Zealand at public art galleries and museums.
Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) is an artist whose practice includes explores the representation of New Zealand's iconic landscapes by employing traditional photographic techniques to subvert the scenic view. Reweti's critique on landscape perspectives is informed by customary knowledge of Māori names and narratives. She seeks to show the land as known and inhabited through portraying the shifting set of roles between observer and participant.
Layne Waerea is an Auckland-based artist and former lawyer whose practice questions assumptions of ownership and title.