06 November – 05 February 2021

OUTGOING DESPATCH- street cinema programme

OUTGOING DESPATCH is a street cinema programme which presents a selection of video-works from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki digital collection (circa 1971-2017).

The programme screens every evening 6pm - 10am, directly from our Karangahape street frontage, as a loop of short video works by thirteen Aotearoa New Zealand artists - Mladen Bizumic, Steve Carr, Alicia Frankovich, Shaun Gladwell, Daniel Malone and Denise Kum, Mike Parr, Rachael Rakena, Jane Venis and Kurt Adams, Lisa Reihana, Shannon Te Ao and Sriwhana Spong.

Each artist employs video as a device to engage with modes of duration and performance, to generate narratives which interrogate themes into the cultural-psyche and lived- experience.

Hauturu Doc
Mladen Bizumic
(with soundtrack ‘Adagio Under My Thumb’ by the Rolling Stones).
(1min 44sec)
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

A 3D digital animation of Hauturu Little Barrier Island nature reserve in the Hauraki Gulf is set to the haunting audio track, Adagio Under My Thumb. In this short video cycle Hauturu (Little Barrier), a very early example of New Zealand’s attempt to gain ‘predator free’ sanctuaries, is represented as a simple line drawing on a black background, rotated around over and over as if it was a model rather than a solid land mass. Here the artist plays with differing forms of the native sublime on this occasion represented through the aesthetics of technology.

Burn Out
Steve Carr
(4min 53sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2011.

Burn Out pairs a landscape recalling the art historical Romantic Sublime with the mechanical cacophony of the suburban boy racer. Carr’s static camera and carefully composed shot emphasise the ‘painting-like’ nature of the scene as smoke billowing from the ute’s tyres gradually obscures the bush clad hills. As in earlier works from his Boganne series, 2000, consisting of images based on heavy rock album covers, or Air Guitar, 2001, a film of the dry ice-wreathed artist engaged in the rapturous contortions of an air guitar epic, Carr both celebrates and satirises bogan culture.

Alicia Frankovich
(2min 41sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2012.

This short rhythmic moving image focuses on three people – the artist, a professional dancer, and a found performer – who encircle, rotate, jostle, intervene and interrupt each other. The action is located on a section of footpath in Berlin near an overpass, and they wear daytime clothing, recognisably contemporary, and a little bit ‘street’. The action was loosely based on a scene from the 1931 black and white Charlie Chaplin film City Lights, during a boxing match which appears like an elaborate dance, with the umpire moving between the boxers who throw circular like lobs at their opponents, confusion ensues and it isn’t clear who is fighting who, given that they seem to lose the purpose of their actions mid-fight. Frankovich turns this comedic satire of the most ferocious of sports into a strange interwoven movement between the three who stay continuously moving in a series of magnetic interactions and propulsions.

Yokohama Linework
Shaun Gladwell
(16min 33sec)
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2010.

Shaun Gladwell’s Yokohama linework was originally commissioned for the Yokohama Triennial. It traces the path
of the artist as he rides his skateboard through the streets of Japan.

Gladwell has stated that he was attempting to “perform an experimental drawing or tracing in which I was both drawing and being drawn by road markings.”

By using the skateboard as his method of transport, the artist poetically links contemporary street culture with these complex notions of time, form, space and experience. The work’s minimal aesthetic strongly references abstraction and the process of drawing, fusing these formal elements with ideas relating to the urban experience such as Baudelaire’s notion of the flaneur and the Situationists technique of derive: theories of ‘strolling’ or ‘drifting’ (respectively) through the environment.

Kum of Sum Yung Gai
Daniel Malone and Denise Kum
(5min 48sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007.

A performance based collaboration between artists Daniel Malone and Denise Kum, both involved with early artist run space Test Strip. This video work typically displayed housed in a mock living room of a Chinese immigrant, can also exist as a single channel work featuring Malone’s performance as in the character of Sum Yung Gai (Malone with ‘Chinese’ prosthetics and make-up) walking through the streets of suburban Auckland against the flow, and in particular those suburbs which were the site of recent mass immigration. The character is representative of the new young immigrant fláneur, and an alternative perspective on Auckland’s consciousness.

Pushing a video camera over a hill
Mike Parr
(7min 25sec )
Auckland Triennial Collection
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2010.

The work was originally shot on 16mm and originally shown as a film projection straight onto the gallery wall at the Inhi- bodress Artists’s Cooperative Gallery in Sydney in 1971 & 1972.

Parr states, "My 1970’s projections were meant to confront the viewer and indeed the sound in the case of some works was set at a level ‘to drive the audience from the space. Pushing a cam- era over a hill is not in this category, but the work does need a strong presence; both image and sound. The work in recent years has been installed as a continuous loop."

This early performance work was recorded at Moore Park, NSW, Australia. Parr’s works strive to get away from symbolism, and back to the presentation of facts. The title of this work outlines a situation.

I view my performance works as units of experience. The view from the camera is literally a documentation of the lived experience. Pushing a camera is an instruction piece."

Occurring in an era prior to reality TV, the endurance mechanisms of Parr’s performance are a prescient kind of behaviour modification.

Rachael Rakena, Jane Venis and Kurt Adams
(8min 16sec)
2006 - 2007
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2009.

Commissioned for the Auckland Art Gallery’s closing series of five artist projects, this video is a powerful extension of themes that artist Rachel Rakena had been working on since her masters exhibition, on the relationship of water to Ngai Tāhu iwi, and water as a metaphor for both technology and community. The video uses song and the theme of collaboration between artists to test and develop these ideas. Several well known New Zealand artists are incorporated in this video in Rakena’s transport bags, used to symbolise migration in her work of this period.

Let there be light
Lisa Reihana
(3min 33sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2002.

A stand alone single channel video work by Reihana which is associated with her larger Digital Marae project. Digital distortions of urban architecture and indigenous characters are used in company with an orchestral soundtrack, which then shifts to more recognisable scenes of bush and figures set against the city heights and sky. It can be coupled with Reihana’s work on gods and deities in Māori cosmology at this time operating more as an abstraction than many of her narrative based films.

Untitled (McCahon House Studies)
Shannon Te Ao
(4min 34sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016.

The setting for this performance for video is the McCahon House in Titirangi, West Auckland, where Colin and Ann McCahon with their four children lived in the 1950s. Te Ao, who wears a wig in the video, embodies the artist and wife, artist performer and myth. It is a complex set of psychologies which he activates between the past and the present – a self portrait of the young artist and portrait of the elder artist, wife and mother, and the pressures of production more broadly. It was in the Titirangi house where the McCahon made one of the most significant shifts in his practice, creating larger body-scaled landscapes, such as the Northland Panels, 1958. The house is now a museum and visitors cannot help but notice the small confined scale of its architecture, which seems in contrast to the big ambitions of its original artistic inhabitants. Te Ao’s Untitled video projects a mixture of action and despair –both of the original inhabitants of the house, and the more generalised status of art during a phase of emergence.

Beach Study
Sriwhana Spong
(7min 33sec)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016.

Inspired by the 1934 novella Duoby the French writer Colette, Spong’s film Beach Study (2012)explores ideas of disappearance and the ephemeral, both physically and psychologically. In the film, a female body conducts abstract dance movements on a beach, responding to the environment that surrounds her. This particular beach was one the artist loved as a child, but today it is hardly accessible because it is in the hands of a private landowner. Shot on 16-millimeter film through coloured filters, the film has intense flashes of magenta, violet, and amber, and other flickering 'light leak' effects. The female body appears and disappears intermittently, creating a surreal and mysterious presence. The overall effect suggests a precarious relationship between memory and experience, transience and monumentality.

This programme is kindly supported by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
Ngā mihi nui ki Natasha Conland and Elle Keen for their support.