Month: April 2016

this is the cup of your heart at The Dowse

Marie Shannon has been following me. I met her in Auckland last year, she is still there. She was, until recently, in a window outside Vicbooks, a faint cello accompanying the smokers gathered on Kelburn Parade. She is, most resolutely, at my place of work and over the last four months I have learned to speak along with her. In What I Am Looking At, Shannon details the labour that follows a death. She lists, mostly: things that need naming, things that need putting away, photographs, artworks, clothing. It’s all flat affect, all restraint, except it also isn’t. It’s a dissociation from the scene of trauma, a channeling of energy into tracing the lines of a life, where it has been, what it has done and seen, what it has made. Or else it’s catharsis, or the promise that lists won’t ever threaten to contain a life. Lists are finite and neat by nature. Lives spill outwards, sometimes they find themselves unwilling or unable to be spoken of or recalled. Or else it’s simply that …

Pure Guava at Skinroom

“Skinroom” is an apt name given to a new gallery recently opened in Hamilton, in the suburb of Frankton. The place had a former life as a tattoo parlour and now it’s given over to art of a different kind – no hearts with daggers plunged into them or dusky maidens in various stages of undress by moonlit beaches. Nothing as clichéd as that, though such could be employed these days at the ‘high’ art end, if treated with irony and the knowing smile. Director of the new gallery, Geoff Clarke (Wintec tutor and art theoretician) might want to dispute the above assertion and claim that the vernacular should be accepted on its own terms without any snooty placement of quotation marks. None are employed in this latest exhibition called “Pure Guava”. And yet with a title like that I sense a delicious irony lurking somewhere in the shrubbery. I can feel the quotation marks coming on. And yet, perhaps we should take this drink straight because the overall sense of the show from the …

Invisible Bodies Part Three: Transformative Spaces

Invisible Bodies is a short term column by Natasha Matila-Smith, here is part three. In choosing the title for this series, I sought to raise issue with the under-representation of marginalised bodies in contemporary society.  Ironically, marginalised bodies are often the most visible and noticeable. These bodies are exposed because they are different from the ones we often see plastered across televisions and magazines; these bodies are different from the anglo-centric beauty standards we have been brought up to believe are superior.    Reality is subjective, but why is it that seeing multiple realities depicted in media so difficult?  It might not mean much to you, but seeing the same story with the same (often white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied) faces dominating the screen is not only unrealistic, it’s boring. In a World that constantly rejects the ‘different’, is the conclusion then that even fictional or seemingly fickle spaces like advertising have no room for the disempowered either? It was suggested by a friend that if I am to talk about ‘invisible bodies’ then I should talk about other …