Month: April 2015

Hard Candy at Casbah Gallery

Sometimes it is the art, sometimes the titles and then again at other times it’s the name of the show itself that grabs the headlines. In Chelsea Pascoe’s case, showing at the Casbah in Hamilton, it’s definitely the latter. Called Hard Candy, the nomenclature couldn’t come with more sexual innuendo if it tried. And just in case you might have missed the references, on the handout sheet, reverse side, there is a handy etymological breakdown of all the various allusions gathered together in this one voluptuous and innocently carnal phrase. The unpacking of Hard Candy begins first with the harmless literal thing in itself – a boiled sugar sweet (of which there were colourful samples to imbibe at the opening) to the more esoteric – an under-aged attractive gullible girl, to the final piece de resistance where all is laid bare – an erect penis, because, and I quote, “bitches like to suck on it as if it were candy.” Gulp! That the art itself, made up of tissue paper might cause further scatological comment …

ANZAC:  The Tradition of Heroic Remembrance

On the morning of the 25th of April 1915, troopers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the hill-topped coves of Gallipoli. The landings, and the disastrous eight months on the peninsula that followed, have been heralded as New Zealand’s ‘baptism of fire’, and attained a mythological status. The Anzacs of Gallipoli, and the public holiday that commemorates them, have become representative of New Zealand’s overseas military history, from the Boer War, to the recent deployment in Iraq.  Gallipoli remains the key imagining of New Zealand’s military past, an origin story of heroism that binds the nation’s imagined community together in remembrance. The centenary of the Gallipoli landings marks a new era in the practice of World War 1 remembrance. Since the 1997 passing of Alfred Douglas Dibley, the last veteran of Gallipoli, Anzac has entered a realm of cultural imagining. Increasingly detached from the trauma of war, the Anzacs are today an expression of popular masculinity stemming from the nations military traditions. The Digger (slang for an Australian or New …

Remembering Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

My iTunes library is a mottled, aging archive: shuffle has repeatedly proved a source of embarrassment, and in consequence remains turned off.  Yet yesterday, of its own accord, my playlist shuffled.  An unlabelled track started playing.  I found myself listening to the sound of my own voice, squeaking a deferential greeting.  A heavy-sounding microphone bumps around. The voice that replies to mine has a dignified boom, and the English-accented clip.  And I recognize the recording. The speaker is Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (Ngāpuhi/Te Aupouri/Ngāti Kuri and, yes, English descent).  It is May 2011: Mane-Wheoki is two years into his post as Head of Elam School of Fine Arts, and I am a third-year student. Before the interview, I hadn’t had much to do with Professor Mane-Wheoki, although he’d appeared sketched in my journal, puffed up with pride, saying cartoonishly “I’m as pleased as punch.”  I was a shy undergraduate, and my head of school seemed as inaccessible to me as everything else – my peers, my lecturers, and, naturally, my purpose in being at art school …

The Social Symposium

From April 9 to April 11 Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC or fa-kak) hosted the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival (CPAF or see-paf) which included a 2 day symposium. I spoke on the Indigenous Intellectual Property Panel about the role of the writer. After a very academic, over theorised, over talked two days I’m struggling to find the words, any words really to articulate my experience. So instead I thought I would summarise my symposium experience into 10 tweet sized (140 characters) sound bites with images I found on the internet. Do you mean that parasitic relationship between the artist and the critic? Back patters is a nice word for circle jerk I’m just a little confused about what your trying to do? Sorry thats the last slide All I wanted to be was a Mother Fucking Artist B.Arch It’s like cultural health and safety If you’re going to fuck someone over at least fuck them openly Every panel has a rouge The most important thing is a succession plan   Art is a weird place …

Puis-je utiliser voter toilette at FUZZYVIBES

Puis-je utiliser voter toilette  I once read that we spend a year and a half of our lives on the toilet. The figure seemed remarkable, so I tried to unpick the equation. Average time spent in toilets 20 minutes (approximate daily toilet usage), x 365 days (in a year), x 81 years (average life span in New Zealand) = 591,300 minutes or 9,855 hours or 411 days or 1.2 years Obviously, toilets are important. _______________________________ Puis-je utiliser voter toilette – French for “may I use your bathroom?” – is a presentation of lavatory-based artworks on Auckland’s Karangahape Road. This move to the loos isn’t without precedence. Since the early 20th century, artists have been fascinated with feces, toilets, and bathroom architecture. There’s Marcel Duchamp’s epoch-defining urinal The Fountain, Yoko Ono’s fluxus orchestra Flushing Toilets, and closer to home Huntawaser’s Kawakawa lavatory. It seems that Puis-je utiliser voter toilette is just the latest incarnation of a potty-orientated art steeped in pedigree. At the opening, a crowd of a hundred or so gathered. Each of us were …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Happy Easter Dicks

Part Nine I’m the biggest dick of all sometimes.  I will prove this by stating the Top Four Archetypes of Art School in the following paragraphs, thereby minimising the role of artists and reinforcing black and white extremities. Actually, it’s just light fun, please don’t hate me… There is a film character named Roberta Allsworth from the film version of the graphic novel/comic Ghost World. Upon meeting a class of unenthused teenagers, Roberta shows a self-produced video work entitled Mirror Father Mirror ‘made possible’ by ‘The Federation For the Advancement of Mature Women in the Arts’/’The Struggling Artist Foundation’/’The Why Not Me Project’. Roberta represents the Artist-Light Background, Well Educated Woman Very Interested And Concerned About Traditions Of Art But Not Quite Sure How This Works In The Physical Form Of Art(1). Male Artist Taking The Piss But Probably With A Very Serious Undercurrent(2) knows his shit.  He’s aware of the system and how it caters specifically to his gender (and sometimes his race), but ya know, instead of contributing to society, he chooses to …

Here Now at Casbah Gallery

At last some sculpture! We don’t see enough of it these days. What we do see is a lot of conceptual work but little honest to goodness solid 3D stuff. So it was nice to see the sculptural pieces of Korean artist, Sena Park, at the Casbah in Hamilton recently. Her mixed media creations are predominantly made of wood and concrete with other items either attached or embedded into the cement: bits of stick, rope, fabric and or plaster, and sometimes covered with a touch of paint. Some of the forms, those predominantly made of concrete, have a geometric look which remind one of origami outlines. Small cubist constructions roughly configured, they possessed a strong industrial aspect almost as if they are simply altered ready-mades where the initial forms could have been picked up from some demolition site. I did like the unorthodox combination of materials. It reminded me of the way singular buildings today are clad in a heterogeneous substances – wood, concrete, corrugated iron etc. The sculptures themselves did possess a certain architectural …

WWSD? In Conversation with Samantha McKegg

WW..D? Is an interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are a part of the creative community in New Zealand. This week we spoke to Samantha McKegg. Samantha is a writer, reviewer and critic based in Dunedin. Samantha has a column in the Otago Daily Times as well as doing freelance writing for various galleries and publications. Read more for what would Samantha do? Some people might say that being Dunedin based would limit your ability to comment on New Zealand’s sometimes Auckland Centric arts landscape. How do you find it? I think that statement could be true of someone who lived in Auckland – I mean someone in South Auckland might have a very different view of the NZ art scene versus someone base in the CBD. But yes, I probably do have a skewed view from down here; it is always tempting to remain short-sighted. The NZ art scene, however, is pretty well networked and it can be easy to keep yourself in the loop with just a little bit of …