In the gallery
In space M
Ed Ritchie and Megan Brady
Drawn from a comfortable intuition that intertwines between a personal and collaborative friendship, Ed Ritchie and Megan Brady present new work exploring an overlap between a poetic aesthetic and a performative engagement within a space. Silent agreements deals directly with
newly divided space M of RM focusing on the natural light which filters through the large window panes. Significantly lowering the highest point of the gallery to increase one’s ability to think in a contemplative manner, Ritchie and Brady have constructed a handmade paper ceiling filling the space above us. The soft ceiling acts as a room divider, encouraging those within the gallery to speak and move softly, calmly while allowing one viewer at a time to delicately observe the space above the constructed ceiling. Soft ceilings allude to temporary settings. Much like being within a tent, marquee or fort, they embody a strange mix of celebration and imagination. Temporary architectures have a certain way of expanding our treatment of space; to our arrangements and our curiosities.
In space R
if we opened me up we’d find beaches
In Space M
An Age Of Iron
Tahāroa is a small settlement to the South-West of the Kawhia harbour. At the end of a long winding road the township itself sits in a tight huddle of new and older houses and workers’ cottages. NZ Steel first brokered an agreement with Ngāti Mahuta ki te Hauāuru in the 70’s to extract the titanomagnetite from the sands and ship it offshore for use in the construction of steel. Tucked out of sight, over the headland, the dredging operation of this iron ore extraction from the volcanic black sands of the foreshore has been continuing unabated for 40 years. Nunes’ film asks what such prolonged extraction and the introduction of this material into the global manufacturing chain might mean for the mauri of the land, and for our planetary relationships. Also screening will be the TVNZ/Journal documentary Tahāroa, made shortly after the mine opened. The screening of this archival 14 minute B&W documentary alongside the less linear new work offers some context, while also provoking the audience to consider land rights, resource extraction, ownership, and our relationships with more-than-human materials and place.
In Space R
Artist Charles Buenconsejo has left his home in the Philippines to make a new one in New Zealand, one that promises purity and connection with nature. He instead finds a society that poses familiar challenges even as he is “making it” according to Filipino standards of progress, having migrated to First World comfort. Homelessness and poverty seem an intensifying albeit new reality for New Zealand, and the country’s aggressive push for construction in the face of this reality intrudes into his suburban dream.
Twice the migrant—first from his provincial home in Cebu to the Philippines’ capital of Manila, then to Aotearoa—the artist discovers the concept of food sovereignty and finally finds his solace in returning to the soil, the land, and transforming his front yard into a thriving vegetable garden. Using discarded materials from construction, he fashions an urban farm that builds both community and self-love. He learns what the soil, plants, and seasons teach him as he grows food to nourish himself, and in doing so remembers the wisdom of his rural childhood, forgotten in the colonial whitewashing of third-world aspirations. He marries his past and present, the devastation wreaked by market forces and the regenerative influence of nature, the cultures of the Philippines and New Zealand, to engineer paradise—his utopia built within the cracks.