Work from the Co-orbital project featured in Issue 2 of Common Ground, with thanks to Christine McFetridge
Recent works from Maunga series.
Maungarei 2013 Installation at Te Tuhi gallery
Sacred maunga, rich resource & reservoir, tourist landmarks, public parks: the volcanic cones of Tamaki Makau Rau are embedded in our daily lives and simultaneously somehow invisible.
Websites maintained by Druids on the other side of the world pay homage to the ley lines of connectivity that string them together. Archeologists point to rich records of pre-contact Maori habitation. All are modified; some have been mined into extinction. With recent legislation restoring the role of local iwi as kaitiaki a new era for these maunga is beginning.
We are entering a phase of accelerated ecological crisis that is truly global. No aspect of the landscape remains unmodified or free from the traces of our shifting human values and appetites. I continue to be deeply engaged with the ways the land reflects and offers back these concerns.
I experience these places as rich sites of psycho-geography. Utilising aspects of the derive, and ritualizing my presence in these places, objects are offered up to be re-presented through the forensic medium of photography. My practice intersects with the post-documentary, relying as it does on a co-authoring with the anima mundi or world soul. This triptych strings together a set of sigils that acknowledge the uneasy co-existence of diverse cultural and consumer practices.
From the ground up.
The making of this work has relied on a series of visits to a single place and a process of co-authorship; an openness to what has been offered up at each visit.
Drilling back into the timeline of this place reveals a series of excavations, modifications, transgressions and re-purposings.
Verdant valley, consecrated ground, multi-laned highway, stoner retreat, vagrant shelter.
In this place I am at once observer and catalyst, forager and witness.
A leap of faith, the animistic magnetism of the objects themselves, the willingness to use the Force – elements that are all at play in these exchanges.
A second layer of co-authoring occurs when the objects are re-visioned and re-presented. Here these taonga are offered as meditative totems. The book provides some insight into their provenance and the ways in which they orbit and intersect each other.
Fragment (Midden I)
Fragment (Midden II )
Fragment (Midden III)
Inkjet digital prints, various sizes
Becky Nunes, 2013
Dead rivers triptych. April 2013
The pumice-dusty plains of the Rangipo Desert are thought to be sacred; the dust has issued from the heart of the maunga tapu and settled there. The ancient waterways flow from the mountains like blood. The tuna flicks it’s tail in the blue-green currents.
It seems that water has become a commodity; we can even buy tiny numbers of shares in the corporate entity that currently peddles it. Indigenous cultures have a more holistic way of living with the natural resources of the planet. Ideas of tapu and noa, (the sacred and the earthly) and the fluid states in between them imbue the Maori relationship with the whenua. What happens when large-scale corporate deities break covenant with these protocols?
There are 22 waterways currently being diverted out of the Whangaehu river catchment in Ngati Rangi tribal lands, on the flanks of Mt. Ruapehu. These waterways originate in the sacred crater lake of Ruapehu, and once carried the mauri of the tupuna awa from the mountain to the sea. They are now instead gathered into the Tongariro Power Development scheme, mixing with many other such relocated streams and rivers. Below the intakes for the TPD the riverbeds are dry.
Richard Tarnas writes of the “epistemologies of separation”, where the human is subject and the world is object. The Enlightenment brought with it a rational science, and a “hubristic vision” of the natural world as a set of fixed conditions and immutable laws. At the apex of this thinking is man, sitting atop a pile of natural resources in an excavator. As our new century inches forward it seems clear that this seat at the top of the heap will be fleeting. Meantime the kuia of the many relocated streams and rivers whisper and confer in their enforced hui at Lake Moawhango, while Koro Ruapehu sits wreathed in cloud above them.