02 February – 17 March 2018

Sorawit Songsataya: Starling

Starling, named after a bird commonly known for its collective murmuring behaviour, presents a series of studies that move towards a more bio-philosophical viewpoint. As a ‘soft-digital’ environment made active and populated by viewing collaborators, Starling advocates for artistic co-production, drifting from obsessive individualism to a more modest and symbiotic perception of nature and culture alike.

Brought together within the space as an immersive installation, the project entails filmic work Lovebirds, sculptural objects Four Chambers, workshop series Weave Me In, and non-hyphenated, a text based project by Robyn Maree Pickens. Emerging through cell-like forms, wool fibres, and a fleshy sea in the exhibition, is an undermining of linear ideas, theoretical frameworks, or illustrative animism.

Given the ecologically compromised world we find ourselves in, can we learn to regard other, more open, systems of knowledge and being that strip humancentric perceptions of the world? E.g. How far can the computer determine or engineer biological design? How to shape our continuous study of ‘being here’ by being inclusive and taking in matter, forms, and energies from our greater environment – its objects and beings – to stimulate a more dynamic cycle of interactions and co-partnership with nonhuman others.

What is brought to life in Starling is not necessarily a singular result or an outcome, instead it produces a system able to communicate new ways of being in the world. The extensive public programme aims to give insight to specific histories connected to, and connecting, the multitude of lives active in the exhibition, where materials can be handled, reformed, and changed to embody the suggestions made by the artist and network of collaborators.

What is constructed throughout this exhibition should perhaps be regarded as ‘a labour of love’, a non-magical gathering of experiments, not necessarily belonging to humans, but rather a political act that refuses to reimagine clear lines of gender, body, or genealogy.

Sorawit Songsataya is a Thai-born artist who lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau. His work often makes practical use of computer softwares and organic material to explore simultaneous relations in materiality and beliefs imbued in diverse cultural milieux. His recent projects expand on various handcraft skills and new media while considering social layers of his home country and Aotearoa. He is the current artist in resident at Parehuia, McCahon House in Titirangi. In April Songsataya will join the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Studio Programme in Stockholm. His recent exhibitions include: Soon Enough: Art in Action, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2018); Cabinets of Curiosities, Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland (2017); Acting Out, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington (2017); Dark Objects, The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington (2017); Potentially Yours: The Coming Community, Artspace, Auckland (2016); The Non-living Agent, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland (2016).

Ngā Mihi Mahana:

Jan Warburton Charitable Trust, Creative New Zealand, Lotech Media, Hallertau Brewery, Phantom Billstickers, Alex Laurie, Alice Senescall, Caitlin Watters, Dotti Neugebauer, Ella Scott-Fleming, Emmanuel Sarmiento, Hannah Pawley, Ivan Mrsic, James Leonard, Kathryn Aucamp, Olyvia Hong, Prairie Hatchard-McGill, Qianye Lin, Rozana Lee, Tim Wagg, Wai Ching Chan, Wendelien Bakker, Jahmin Hesse, Ngahere Wihare.