Between 10 and 16 million years ago at least three successive eruptions of the Dunedin Volcanic Complex spread lava and ash across the landscape, the explosive force of its magma opening out a caldera which filled with salt water from the ocean. Over millions of subsequent years lava and powdery ash solidified, making sediment that weathered into the folds of hills that form the landscape surrounding Otago Harbour today.
Hātarei 16 Tīhema -
Hātarei 24 Pēpuere
Saturday 16 December -
Saturday 24 February
2023 - 2024
Soda ash references the accumulation of geological, weather-born, oceanic and human processes that shape this unique environment. Unseen, underground infrastructure of the city channels stormwater, raw materials and heavy metals into the harbour; sand dunes and cliffs are stabilised with introduced plantings and fabricated piles along the coastline as an attempt to hold back land from erosion by wind and sea; residual human and more-than-human debris is picked up and continually dispersed from place to place.
Interacting processes such as filtration, disintegration, recirculation and collection inform Soda ash. The exhibition is responsive to the impermanent and permeable nature of structures and landforms that surround us in this city, a place ever made and remade by its multiple inhabitants in relation to the hills, harbour, weather and sea.
Ed Ritchie was the Blue Oyster and Caselberg Trust summer resident for 2023. Kā mihi to the Caselberg Trust for their support for this project.
Based in Ōtepoti, Ed Ritchie’s practice is rooted in sculpture and installation. Ritchie’s work considers ideas around thresholds and the built environment as a conductor of the invisible. He completed a BVA (Hons) in 2017 through the Dunedin School of Art and has since become a founder and co-facilitator of the ARI Favour. Recent exhibitions include: Central heating, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2021); heat transfers, Blue Oyster (2021); Lay in Measures with Megan Brady, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space (2021); Hush Swarms, Hot Lunch (2020); and Console Whispers, Blue Oyster (2019).