March 4th – 21st
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.
“The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic and necromancy that surrounds the products of labour as long as they take the form of commodities, vanishes therefore, so soon as we come to other forms of production.” – Karl Marx, Capital, Vol.1
Three ships sail under the flags of Japan, Panama and Singapore; Destiny, Providence and Eos (goddess of the dawn). This landscape has been observed for many years allowing for a shift from one way of seeing to another, revealing the deserts of far-away planets. A long burn. And through this act of looking, and re-looking, time has started to fold in on itself. Everything is out of time and what we think should move doesn’t. From somewhere (in China) three workers desperately peer into the void. Their actions only made more frenzied because of the stillness of the screen grabbed image. Something is wrong.
There is a certain conjuring of chaos through the juxtaposition of landscape and failure. But this is not all. A framing of agency is presented in a way that the Afrofuturists know. An object, a spaceship, or a relic from another era orbits and the merging of past, future and present offer a speculative subversion of the documentary form. Out-takes from the world and (science) fiction signal in the glowing translucent wakas heading out to the cosmos, a reconciliation of a future which is both bright and distant.