In 1999 about five months before the new year and the beginning of the third millennium and the 21st century, what was then called the Force Entertainment Centre opened to much fanfare in downtown Tāmaki Makaurau. The gigantic entertainment complex was designed by architect Ashley Allen, and he hoped its neoclassical/Blade Runner/The Fifth Element-inspired structure would be experienced by the public as if it was like an unpredictable and entirely separate world, or as a humming, living machine.
Mane 27 Noema -
Rātapu 17 Tīhema
Monday 27 November -
Sunday 17 December
The centre held an iMax cinema, TimeOut, Planet Hollywood, Borders, a food court, an Internet cafe, restaurants, an underground carpark and more, and at its peak saw thousands of people through it every day. Today, though, a little over twenty years later, the complex has been left to disintegrate. Unmaintained and becoming empty of tenants and people, what is now known as Sky World Entertainment Centre faces an uncertain future.
SKY WORLD 2049 documents the gradual disintegration of another ‘structure’, this one made from seeds, fruit, and egg whites. Joshua Harris-Harding has set up a livestream of his own version of the Sky World Entertainment Centre in his backyard; capturing its decay from being exposed to the elements and feasting garden birds over several weeks.
Harris-Harding is intrigued by how Sky World Entertainment Centre exists as a kind of contradiction; despite being, at least originally, a utopian-minded centre for profit, commerce and consumption, its present downfall is often talked about as reflecting a wider loss of public and common spaces. Within the centre’s lifetime, this has happened alongside the emergence and co-option of digital commons - a new kind of social life that is also mediated by commerce.
For all of its optimism and faith in an exciting, profitable, technologically-driven future, the Sky World Entertainment Centre has found itself in an awkward place. Existing in a post-pandemic environment, barely holding together and picked at bit by bit while broadcast out for all to see, Harris-Harding’s handmade Sky World Entertainment Centre offers a view into the experience of being on a slow slide towards ruin.
Joshua Harris-Harding is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. He completed an MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in 2020. Past shows include A Wandering Thing with Sophie Bannan, The Physics Room (2019), Sports, DEMO (2018), Inconsolata with Vanessa Crofskey, RM (2018) and Lapidary with Becky Richards, Elam Projectspace Gallery (2017). Harris-Harding was a co-founder and board member of Samoa House Library.