Sandy Gibbs

Title: Recalling Tui
Year:     2016
Length: 10:01
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer: Sandy Gibbs
I called Tui on the phone – I nervously introduced myself; I should have been more alert to her hesitancy. I asked if I could talk to her about her experiences swimming at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. But she firmly said “No” – actually what she said was “I don’t do that sort of thing.” I tried my hardest to keep her on the line, but then she was gone. I didn’t even get to mention restaging the race. My heart was thumping hard when I put down the phone. In that awful moment of utter and dismal failure, I gained my first startled glimpse into the depths of precariousness that underscored this project, and I knew that this meant trouble with a capital T. It was unravelling right before it even got started. Enter ‘contingencies

Later, I kicked myself that I hadn’t documented the phone call. But given it had been such a brief encounter, I felt sure I could remember it word for word. Easy, I thought, as I set up a video camera a couple of months later in my lounge. I didn’t worry too much about the busy traffic noise outside, or fussing over the framing or the focus – I simply sat down in front of the camera and started recalling the conversation. Except that I couldn’t. Recall it, that is. Suddenly it was gone, as absent and elusive as Tui had been. I made a start, thinking it might take me three or four goes to properly recall the conversation so I kept the camera rolling. Instead, it took shape as a single 10-minute video made up of repetitions, half-started and unfinished sentences, pauses and some really awkward silences.

An unexpected outcome of this experience was the degree to which the attempt to recall an otherwise mundane phone conversation activated what could be described as an uncomfortably dark humour that exploits uncertainty; a human earnestness at once both comic and despairing that becomes more and more painful and embarrassing as I stumble through endless repetitions. Recalling Tui is framed by and references the original phone call but is subverted through a strategy of displacement – in this case, a configuration of anxiety and humour – that first locates the familiar, and then makes it strange.

Title: Lighting an old flame
Year:     2016
Length: 2:24
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer: Sandy Gibbs
Drone camera operators: Alex Paterson and Isaac Paterson at SkyzoneNZ
Camera: Chris Williams
Costume: Clare Weterings
Voiceover: Excerpt from Olímpiada en México (dir. Alberto Isaac)

The 1968 Mexico Olympics was the first time that the Olympic flame was lit by a woman. Beautifully captured in Alberto Isaac’s documentary, the young Mexican hurdler Norma Enriqueta Basilio runs into the stadium with the Olympic flame, completes a lap and then – effortlessly – she bounds up a long flight of steps to the very top of the stadium where she symbolically lights the cauldron. This was the signal for the start of the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games

I resolved to restage this moment in suburban Wellington. I scouted around for a suitable site, finally opting for a long flight of steps that stretch up from Lyall Bay, a southern beachside suburb of the city. A friend sewed a white running outfit to match the one worn by Basilio. I made an Olympic flame out of coloured cardboard, and a fake cauldron from heavy card that I spray-painted metallic silver. I bought half a dozen helium-filled balloons from a party supply shop (six was the most that would squash into the back of my old Beetle), and I hired a couple of camera guys with a drone. Heads popped up over the neighbouring fences and kids turned up to watch the drone taking off and landing. At first, they thought I was a real estate agent. “What are you doing?” they asked. “It’s art,” I said. Suddenly they looked at me differently.

The end result is Lighting an old flame, an amateur theatrical performance: a deliberate attempt at activating a humorous register and playing out a fantasy – this time in a public performance to counter the perceived dichotomy of invisibility/hyper visibility facing the ageing woman. In this work, I examine humour, parody and the otherness of the ageing female body as a social construct and cultural condition. The whole thing is precarious and amateurish – but in its complete absurdity, it portrays a total and optimistic belief in the fantasy of an ageing woman who never stopped dreaming of making it to the Olympics. And who is determined to play it out.

Title: The swimmer and the spy
Year:     2017
Length: 2:22
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer: Sandy Gibbs
Video: Chris Williams

In my quest to track down the other swimmers from 1968, nowhere could I find any trace of the two former-East German swimmers, Marianne Seydel and Sabine Steinbach. Drawing upon conceptual art strategies in part inspired by artists Sophie Calle and Vito Acconci, I hired a German private eye in a failed attempt to locate them and hopefully to connect us. However, although he was successful, under German privacy laws he was unable to give me their details, and neither of the two women opted to make contact with me. Instead, this culminated in my visit to the swimming pool in Chemnitz, Germany, where Marianne Seydel and Sabine Steinbach trained for the 1968 Olympics under the watchful eye of their Stasi coaches. Vicariously inserting myself into their stories, I swam in this pool with a heightened awareness of the biopolitics, power and ideologies that still permeate the space.

Title:How to wear a disguise
Year:     2017
Length: 2:52
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer/video editor: Sandy Gibbs
Camera: Chris Williams
Soundtrack: The Boss Henry Mancini            
Costumes hired from Costume Cave, Wellington

Before we left Germany, we paid a visit to the Stasi Museum in Berlin. There, I was transfixed by an exhibition of sinister spycraft memorabilia of Stasi agents being taught how to wear disguises, how to put on wigs and false moustaches, how to disguise themselves as Western tourists. A bit like kids playing at dress-up but, absurdly, these were grown-ups and what they were doing was very unfunny. It was all a bit sinister and creepy, this motley collection of very ordinary-looking people trained to spy on their own.

The tragicomic, according to theatre scholar John Orr, is “short, frail, explosive and bewildering. It balances comic repetition against tragic downfall. It demonstrates the coexistence of amusement and pity, terror and laughter.”[1] Likewise, How to wear a disguise is an attempt at using humour to draw out the tragicomic side of biopolitics and of East Germany’s forty-year Stasi regime – also short, tragic and terrifying. I had been – in equal measure – appalled, weirdly amused and fascinated by the stark evidence of the exhibits. But also, I was intrigued by the photographs of the spies, ordinary citizens who were recruited by the Stasi to inform on their families, friends and colleagues. In How to wear a disguise I set out to explore these politicised double lives through a tragicomic lens, playing with tensions oscillating between the photos and the videoed performance, improvising actions and gestures imagined from the Stasi photos.

[1] John Orr, Tragicomedy and Contemporary Culture: Pity and Performance from Beckett to Shepard (Basingstoke & London: MacMillan, 1991), 1.

Title:Space-Girl Dance
Year:     2018
Length: 1:42
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer: Sandy Gibbs
Camera: Katri Walker
Support crew: Hardy Martinez Léon, Chris Williams
Video editor: Ro Tierney
Soundtrack from the original Space-Girl Dance (1970) featuring Raquel Welch
Shot on location in Mexico City

In 1970, actress Raquel Welch starred in a video in which she, a space-age Barbarella flanked by two silver-suited males, danced and gyrated in front of a collection of huge concrete modernist sculptures that had been commissioned for the 1968 Olympics. Almost fifty years later, on a very hot day in Mexico City, I squeezed myself into a tight-fitting metallic silver bodysuit and we went hunting for those very sculptures. I was on my way to restage Raquel Welch’s Space-Girl Dance.

One small hitch: I can’t dance. I had managed a quick half-hour lesson two days before we left New Zealand, a lesson in which I was irrefutably outdanced by a five-year-old. But nothing had quite prepared me for the mess I’d got myself into this time. This struck me with considerable force as I lurched across a crazy Mexico City highway in my silver suit. And it was really hot. By the time I hauled myself up to the solid blue mass of Willi Gutmann’s El Ancla, I was already turning a sweaty pink. On top of that, I knew that there was no way I was going to remember any of my hastily learnt dance steps. Skidding and stumbling over a thick bed of loose lava rocks, I had no choice: I had to wing it. Strutting my stuff in full view of the passing traffic, I discovered the power of a tight silver bodysuit – even one worn by an older woman. Mexican men kept tooting their car horns as they sped past, and I swear the gap between Raquel and me got a whole lot smaller. I could feel the stardom.

A distinctive flavour of parody is prefaced in Space-Girl Dance to the point of tipping my performance over into the ridiculous. In Space-Girl Dance, parody lies in the process of recontextualising the differences between the dancers and the modernist sculptures. Raquel, the 60s sex symbol resplendent in her futuristic bikini, is replaced by a 60-year-old woman in a silver suit who can’t dance. And the monumental concrete sculptures, once the epitome of 1968 phallic modernism, have shifted from being powerful symbols of heroic masculinity into anachronistic obsolescence with their dilapidated peeling paint and crumbling concrete. In the original, flanked by two supporting male dancers, Raquel dances in and around the sculptures – a centrefold girl performing and reinforcing 60s masculine so-called norms and expectations. In her revealing space-age outfit, Raquel affirms this relationship as she moves, gyrates and dances in and around the sculptures. By contrast, the restaged Space-Girl Dance inverts the relationship: this time, the dancer is an irreverent older woman, the ‘other,’ flexing her ageing muscles in front of these equally ageing patriarchal relics, their status also now questionable in context. As such, the “resulting oscillation between similarity and difference”[1] creates a new, disruptive space of incongruity. Humour is generated in the restaged Space-Girl Dance as an outcome of using parody as a tool; and the level of incongruity in turn, like a volume control, dictates the variant levels of humorous ridiculousness that oscillate throughout the work.

 [1] Dan Harries, Film Parody (London: British Film Institute, 2000), 6.

Title:Stadium walk (opening ceremony)
Year:     2018
Length: 2:18
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Director/performer: Sandy GibbsCamera: Katri Walker, Claudia Becerril
Producer: Cata Bojacá
Support crew: Chris Williams
Costume: Sandy Gibbs
Milliner: Liza Foreman
Video editor: Ro Tierney
Sound recording: Carlos Fernandez and Uriel Duran, Yellow Tree Studios
Shot on location at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México UNAM, Mexico City.
Thanks to Dirección General del Patrimonio of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México UNAM, and the Estadio Olímpico Universitario team, Juan José Ugalde García, Manager and Sergio Juárez, our guide.

“Is there anyone who has not, at least once, walked into a room and ‘felt the atmosphere’?” So Teresa Brennan challenges her readers, arguing that the transmission of affect is not only social and psychological but is also responsible for physical and biological changes.[1] Scholar Sarah Ahmed refers to emotion as visceral, or sticky, assigning it bodiliness,[2] and there was no doubt – throughout my entire body, I could sense a powerful atmosphere in the stadium.

Facing the camera, exposed, brutally honest, in my self-awareness I am transfixed by these close-ups: by my facial gestures, my attempts to smile, trying hard not to cry, a denial of vulnerability, and then finally – losing the battle – I cry. Caught off guard, I’m embarrassed that I look so very old, and I’m embarrassed by my exposure, my failure to control my emotions. My tears are real, however I am not sad. Instead, my display of emotion is poised on a cusp between pathos and absurdity, for written on my face is also the tearful delight and relief of finally fulfilling my fantasy of making it to the Olympics – albeit too late, too old, too past-it, but buoyed by my enduring and optimistic belief in the fantasy. “Traversing the fantasy,” in the words of Žižek, “[is to] fully identify oneself with the fantasy, to bring the fantasy out.”[3] In other words, an escape from the real is an embrace of the artifice and the inauthentic through collapsing the real into the fantasy. Here, the enclosed space of the stadium is complicit, designating its interiority as an ‘other’ kind of space, as Steven Connor observed: “Anything can happen in a space like this.”[4] Indeed, something magical had happened – in the inauthentic and ‘exceptional space’ of the stadium and this restaged opening ceremony, for a brief moment I lived my fantasy and my experience in the expanse of the stadium was profoundly moving.

[1] Teresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect (Ithaca, NY & London: Cornell University Press, 2004), 1.

[2] Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), 89–90.

[3] Slavoj Žižek, Event: Philosophy in Transit (London: Penguin Books, 2014), 29.

[4] Steven Connor, “Playgrounds: The Arenas of Game,” Bartlett School of Architecture International Lecture

Series, 2008; 7, http://stevenconnor.com/playgrounds/playgrounds.pdf

Title:The swimming race (Mexico City)
Year:     2018
Length: 4:10
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Performers/swimmers (in lane order):
Norma Angelica Pérez
María de Los Ángeles Limonchi
Rocío Alcaraz Ugalde
Mercedes del Castillo Velazco
María de la Luz Flores
María del Rosario Villanueva
Irma Guadalupe del Rio Valdivia
Sandy Gibbs
Camera crew: Katri Walker (director of photography)
María José Secco
Paulina del Paso
Claudia Becerril
Producer: Catalina Bojacá
Starter judge: Abdón Diaz Aparicio
Support crew: Chris Williams
Swimming costume design, fabric printing and making: Ramon Figueroa and Ana Rios, Warehouse
Sound recording: Carlos Fernandez and Uriel Duran, Yellow Tree Studios
Video editor: Ro Tierney

Thanks to the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Marquez team for all the support:

Angel Erick Santiago Hernández, Director del Deporte

Ivette Reyes and Jesús Alejandro Cruz

Shot on location at Alberca Olímpica Francisco Marquez, Mexico City

By substituting the youthful swimmers of 1968 with aged female counterparts fifty years later, this work is a direct engagement with the ageing female body and a riposte to the double standard of ageing that Susan Sontag identified in relation to older women: “The idea of an old woman in a bathing suit being attractive, or even just acceptable looking, is inconceivable.”[1] Through Bergson, time is considered as both race time and lived time, and as the visible manifestation of time inscribed on the swimmers’ bodies – or, to borrow from Adrian Heathfield, as a kind of “durational aesthetic”.[2]

The act of setting up the swimming race had thrust me into a situation that required ceding a certain amount of authorial control and autonomy. Tracing a particular lineage through the conventions of performance art, Claire Bishop coined the term ‘delegated performance’ to describe “the act of hiring non-professionals … to undertake the job of being present and performing at a particular time and place on behalf of the artist, and following his or her instructions.”[3] This, however, does not take into account the presence of the artist – me – also ‘undertaking and performing’ in the same artwork at the same time, and being as much a ‘non-professional’ as the other performers/competitors. Our ages were similar, and we were all older female swimmers together, but I really had no idea of their swimming abilities or even, indeed, if they would turn up on race day. I had handed over control. Doing so, and delegating performance to others, underlines the inherent risk, uncertainty and ever-present potential for failure that lies at the heart of this restaging project. As a counter to Bishop’s claim that delegated performers provide the artist with “a guarantee of authenticity,”[4] I argue instead that having to cede authorial control within The swimming project, in that it utilised a specific restaging methodology with no pre-determined outcome, contributed to the creation of an ‘inauthentic’ – and therefore new and different – swimming race. For instance, once we hit the water, the race itself was not directed or scripted, the outcome was premised purely upon the swimmers’ abilities, and I had one rule: to swim the race only once. “Just like at the Olympics. No second goes, no reshoots. What happens, happens.”

My failure to enlist any of the original swimmers from 1968 transformed the event as, predicated upon the thrall of an unknown outcome and through the methodology of restaging, the unplanned produced a new and different result. For, while The swimming project set out to restage an historic event, it deliberately sought to respond to and retain the thrall of an unknown outcome. Buoyed with uncertainty and precariousness, the project re-introduced the elements of chance and risk of personal failure for each of the competitors – and for me as the artist as well. In this, The swimming project repositioned itself within the field of artistic restaging with a different method of making, one that was open ended, unrehearsed and without a pre-determined outcome.

[1] Susan Sontag, “The Double Standard of Aging,” The Saturday Review, September 23, 1972.

[2] Adrian Heathfield, “Thought of Duration,” in Time, ed. Amelia Groom (London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2013), 98.

[3] Claire Bishop, “Delegated Performance: Outsourcing Authenticity,” October 140 (Spring 2012): 91.

[4] Bishop, “Delegated Performance,” 110.

Gibbs is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington-based artist and has recently completed her PhD at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her research project, The paradox of failure: sport, competition and contemporary art, charted a failed attempt to restage the women’s 400 metres individual medley swimming final from the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Her childhood hero Tui Shipston had come seventh in this race in 1968 – in an absurd but romantic quest, Gibbs set out to locate and enlist the eight original swimmers from the 1968 final and, in doing so, to offer Tui the chance to win gold this time.

Through the production of a series of video artworks, this research project expands upon and redefines the video-art methodology of restaging as a progenitor of newness and difference. Located within a framework of failure, sport and art, the works challenge the outsider status and invisibility of the ageing female athletic body. Through self-reflexive performances in which Gibbs restages a series of ‘events’ connected through the research to the 1968 Mexico Olympics, she takes on the role of the ageing woman – in doing so, Gibbs critically examines notions of failure, fantasy and inauthenticity, activating different registers of humour, emotion, optimism and precariousness – culminating in the final denouement in Mexico City.

Gibbs has shown work in multiple group exhibitions and public screenings. The paradox of failure: sport, competition and contemporary art was exhibited at RM Gallery and Project Space in 2021. In 2018, How to wear a disguise was shown at Video Contemporary at Sydney ContemporaryLighting an old flame was shown at Mason’s Screen, Wellington (2018), and was also included in the ‘Art and Performance by Research’ exhibition, Deakin University (2017). Private Investigations was a joint show with Mike Ting at Meanwhile Gallery, Wellington (2017).

Gibbs graduated from Massey University in Wellington with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) in 2004, a Master of Fine Arts (With Distinction) in 2012, and gained her PhD from Deakin University in Melbourne in 2021.

Thematic tags:

Jennifer Mason

Title: Introspective
Year: 2016
Length: 06:46

Many of the videos Mason made in the mid 2000’s were influenced by the British television comedy she watched whilst growing up.  Mason was studying towards a BA in Women’s Studies at the time she made the videos and explored some of the ideas she was reading about through a framework of sarcasm, satire, and self-depreciation.  Mason was interested in the way comedians such as John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders and Rik Mayall would use their bodies in slapstick style humour.  They used their bodies as an object, particularly as an object of humiliation. Mason felt the framework in which these comedians worked was an interesting way to talk about discourse around gender politics. 

Jennifer Mason is an interdisciplinary artist working across painting, photography, video, and installation. She studied at Elam School of Fine Arts in 2013 followed by Glasgow School of Art in 2015.  Jennifer was born in Auckland and currently resides in Piha.

Instagram: @jennifer_mason_mason

Paige Pomana and Jazz dos Santos

Title: IN FRAME | Infamy Apparel
Year: 2020
Length: 04:25
Format: Single-channel video
Credits: Directed, filmed & produced by Paige Pomana & Jazz Dos Santos

IN FRAME is a collection of short films centred around the documentation of everyday creatives. Creative Director of Infamy Apparel, Amy Lautogo, spoke to us about shifting the paradigm of the portrayal of fat people in the fashion industry and how we need to reevaluate our individual conditioning under a colonial, capitalist, system.
Thematic tags: Performance, documentary, body, capitalism, politics, feminism, decoloniality, LGBTQ.

Sour Heart Productions is a videography production company based in Auckland, New Zealand. It was founded by filmmakers Paige Pomana and Jazz Dos Santos, who share a passion for artistic visual media and sound.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SourHeartProductions/
Instagram: @sourheartproductions
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/sourheartproductions

Louise Stevenson

Title: In Conversation with the Architect
Year: 2012
Length: 18.00
Format: Digital video

Documentary like, this work re-visits a recorded conversation with Stevenson’s then ninety year old father, Charles Stevenson, about the King George Sixth Secondary School in Honiara, Solomon Islands which he designed in 1964. He was an architect in the British Colonial Service in Nigeria and Solomon Islands during the 1950s to 1970s and played a key role in the implementation of modern infrastructure in those tropical colonies. In the film, their discussion is enacted through their hands pointing to more recent footage of the buildings fifty years later in 2011, while an edited text of their dialogue runs in parallel to this. Perspectives on colonial history and national independence weave through the conversation between father and daughter highlighting generational shifts and memory slippage. The work considers issues at stake in the inter-relationship between spoken word and materiality via conversation, architectural history and representational film imagery. Stevenson discusses this work in her paper (Re)constructing Tropical Architecture in Solomon Islands: Conversations with my Father,” Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 24:2, 214-243
Thematic tags: Documentary, body, decoloniality, history, family, architecture, modernism.

Louise Stevenson’s practice spans broadly across drawing, painting, installation, photography and film. Her work predominantly engages with the position of being “outside” and a shifting relationship to place. She draws on non-Western ideas of navigation that locate a floating-fixed position on the Ocean. The formative experience of growing up as an expatriate in Honiara, Solomon Islands, as well as travelling and living in Europe, informs this interest. Projects include drawing series related to living in Budapest, Hungary, paintings exploring transparency and opacity, installations working with objects and materials referencing memory, and photographic and film work exploring the legacy of modern architecture in the tropics (includes MFA and Doctoral work).

Archival material, along with associated personal histories and their intersection with the public domain, informs Stevenson’s more recent work. An ongoing project involves the research and visual exploration of a substantial photographic archive gifted to Stevenson by her father who was an architect in the British Colonial service in Nigeria and Solomon Islands. This archive records tropical modern architecture’s trajectory from Africa to the Pacific, and a particular geo-political era of colonial and modernist history. Stevenson’s work attempts to re-represent this history within a framework of shifting perspectives while holding the irresolvable space of colonial history. Several projects stem from this research with on-going multi-form presentations across photography, film, installation and writing.


Sarah Callesen and Shelley Simpson

Title: The Entities
Year: 2018
Length: 15.00
Format: Two screen digital video
Credits: Audio: Sarah Callesen, video: Shelley Simpson
Our experience of the world around us is often mediated by technology, contributing to the idea that humans are separate from nature. In The Entities, artists Sarah Callesen and Shelley Simpson use visual and audio relationships between human and non-human, natural and artificial, culture and nature. All recording is subjective, mediated by both humans and technologies used in the process. The Entities considers the role of each player within the communication system, where each offers its own affect.

Simpson has created photographs of forest floor worlds in the temperate bush of Rakiura, Stewart Island – an intense, remote environment mostly devoid of human activity. We generally perceive events that occur at human scale, not too big, not too small. We can extend our perceptual range using technology. Scale shifts, time slows. The images are presented as a two-channel video work scaled up to an immersive size. Subtle animation augments the imagery, bringing attention to the sense of process, of visibility, of observer and of mediation.

In response to the macro imagery, Callesen presents an accompanying sound piece that considers change in sound at a qualitative scale other than loudness. Echo and reverb are tropes often used in film to exaggerate the sound of small things. Natural history documentaries often apply imagined sounds to visual footage, particularly for small fauna such as insects, which are too minute to capture with existing technology. Designed sound in film, television and now virtual environments, continue to fabricate what humans imagine unheard phenomena to sound like. Callesen has used designed planet atmospheres and other constructed sounds sourced from stock libraries, as well as manipulated field recordings taken by both artists.

Shelley Simpson’s images were created with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa and The Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai.

Thematic tags: Landscape, environment/ecology, sound, technology

Sarah Callesen holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts (with distinction) and a Bachelor of Design. Her practice explores a relationship with technology, particularly the mediation of perceptual experience. She works predominantly in the mediums of drawing and sound. Her work has been exhibited as a Merit Award winner in the 2018 Parkin Drawing Prize, as well as a finalist in the 2016, 2015 prize exhibitions. A finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award (2017), and in the Wallace Art Awards winners and finalists travelling exhibition (2015). The artist had a site specific work in the 2018 Auckland Art Fair ‘Projects’ exhibition, the group show ‘I Understand If You Are Busy’ at RM gallery (2018), and group shows at the George Fraser and Projectspace galleries, Elam School of Fine Arts (2017, 2016).

Shelley Simpson’s multi-disciplinary art practice is concerned with exploring the porous boundaries between the binary concepts of nature/culture and human/non-human. She works with materials that reference ecology and materialism, with specific attention given to agency, affect, labour, transformation, cooperation and symbiosis. Her recent projects explore extractive mining practices as a vehicle for examining wider issues. She is the recipient of a Wild Creations grant from CNZ and DOC for 2018 which funded a project based on 19th century tin mining in Stewart Island. Shelley received an MFA (First class honours) from Elam in 2016. In September 2017 she attended the course Posthuman Ethics in the Anthropocene, with Prof. Rosi Braidotti at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Lily Worrall

Title: The Corner
Year: 2017
Length: 06:42
Format: Documentation of installation
“A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability.”— Bachelard, Gaston & John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, 1994.
The corner grounds itself on the plane of the fragile. It is a project that sits within the interstice, and within this frame of solidity, we see the negative space of solitude; the home, the family, the corner.
The house in this presentation acts as a frame that both envelops and projects. These projected images permeate from within the home. In doing so, they inhabit and acknowledge a sense of ‘presence’. Tentative in their pursuits, the hand-held movements of the camera allude to the maker of the images, and their fragmented and cropped nature intensify the actions within the frame. By capturing a sense of voyeurism and imagined senses, these ‘home videos’ elicit both forms of experience for the viewer and the editor. 
The ‘close-up’ gives a sense of integrity to an image of an action. To find a way of encapsulating stillness in action was a push towards angling the camera down towards the feet, to hide the figure but confess its intimacies within anonymity. I have acted as a mobile figure within an immobile space, taking cues from the traversal entity of the flâneur; regarding my imposed limitations within the home.
This body of work reflects that space within the corner, and my proximity with these figures and movements slowly drifts onto the suburban street; noticeable to those who are open to see within this liminality. The use of familial images and experiences prompts me to reflect on the self, whilst speaking to the fragmentation of the familial archive. It has become a way of forming this ‘self’ within and around the home; through presenting and concealing isolated forms of my parents, and to explore the practice of investigating personal and intimate surroundings and how they can permeate into the immediate exterior of a commonly revered solidified structure. 

Thematic tags: documentary, feminism, photography, fine art

Title: Trip
Year: 2015
Length: 12:04
Format: Video
“Just as in life, one can only really see and hear when one is in a state of availability.” (T. Minh-ha 215).

The interlude, the in-between, and the interstitial spaces in films are traditionally shot by a second unit. I seek to inhabit the role of the second-hand filmmaker, disconnected from the clear narrative of the classical form of filmmaking. I act as a Flâneuse, my camera the wandering eye of my observations. Through investigating these preliminary practices, this work acts as an on-going project that questions ways of organising connections; collecting and montaging images for future thoughts and reflection. In this way the work performs like a photo album. A curated composition that aims  to revel in the isolation and fragmentation of familial memories and the family unit. Although curated images may insight a degree of disconnect between family members, they also create a sense of alienation when viewed by a stranger. The stranger must then look in a state of availability, with the responsibility and challenge to form their own narrative, potentially over many sittings. 

“As that claustrophobic unit, the nuclear family, was being carved out of a much larger family aggregate, photography came along to memorialize, to restate symbolically, the imperiled continuity and vanishing extendedness of family life.” (Sontag 9). Working with family comes as an intrinsic type of collaboration. Documenting family experience is regularly perceived through the parents eyes, and becomes the child’s responsibility as the family comes to a point of separation. The “claustrophobic unit” performs within a structure that includes several subjectivities. Through my organisation of captured moments, editing with footage and photographs taken by different members of the family, the images become realised and coherent to us as relatives, despite its stagnated structure and resistance to convenient narrative hooks.

To those that are not privy to the omitted experiences, the film creates a place for projected memories. The uncertainty of duration or erratic changes in focus call for the audience to develop their own narratives and way to work around the images. Its position is to thrive on fragile ground. The awkward nature of interspersed static material and long traveling shots invite reflection and discomfort.  

Title: Cafe Undone
Year: 2014
Length: 10:18
Format: HD video

Lily Worrall is an Auckland based artist, who has recently completed her BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts with first class Honours, and a BA in Film theory at the University of Auckland. She is a structuralist filmmaker, whose practice integrates familial archives, digital materiality, found  materials and feminist film theory. 

Worrall’s practice intuitively leans towards capturing the uncanny. Her videos encompass her relationship to family life which meld cinematic narratives to the personal.


Emily Parr

Title: Te Aroha
Year: 2017
Length: 04:45
Format: HD video
During the occupation* of Niki’s house, weekly waiata** nights have been held to foster whanaungatanga***. The collective voices can be heard along Taniwha Street on a Thursday evening, travelling easily because of the empty spaces. The redevelopment is physically dismantling Glen Innes, through the removal of houses by truck or demolition (in this video, 69 Taniwha Street). But in their place stands a different form of community – one that is growing ever stronger. On the day of filming (23/03), Niki had again been under a direct threat of eviction. She closed Waiata Club with this: “This has been the hardest day of these last six years. But we’re still here. And we’re still singing.”
Ngā mihi Tāmaki Housing Group & Waiata Club.
** song
*** kinship, a relationship of shared experiences through working together that creates a sense of belonging
Thematic tags: documentary, capitalism, politics, decoloniality, sound, spirituality, indigenous methodologies, housing (Te Aroha)

Title: Te Wai Mokoia
Year: 2016
Length: 17:30
Format: HD video
Te Wai Mokoia was the winner of Uxbridge’s 10th Estuary Art Awards. It is a unique single edition belonging to the Auckland Council.

This work considers ecology not only in relation to biology, but in relation to a wider understanding of ecology – that of the relationships between people, their whenua, and social and political frameworks. It is centred on a specific ecology, presented through a kōrero between a kuia and her whāngai daughter, both long term residents of Glen Innes. The health of Te Wai Mokoia cannot be separated from its people, a community that is fighting to stay in their homes. 

Tāmaki is currently undergoing “regeneration”, a process through which thousands of state housing tenants are being affected. Many residents are refusing to be moved away from their homes – a collective resistance that is taking a huge toll on the community’s hauora. Our people are made vulnerable by a colonial capitalist state, and our safety nets are being removed through governmental policy.

The work considers all that extends from a house – childhood memories, the garden we bury in and grow from, and the environment surrounding it. For residents of Glen Innes, the estuary is a site of resource gathering, of learning and exploration, and a place to foster interconnectedness with nature. Te Wai Mokoia flows through this community as wairua tapu.
Thematic tags: documentary, capitalism, politics, decoloniality, environment/ecology, landscape sound, spirituality, indigenous methodologies, housing (Te Wai Mokoia)

Emily Parr (Ngāi Te Rangi, Moana, Pākehā) is a Tāmaki Makaurau based artist. Her current research (toward a Master of Visual Arts) is on settler-indigenous relationships of Te Moananui a Kiwa, and is anchored by those she descends from. Her moving-image practice weaves through time and space, seeking stories in archives, waters, and on haerenga to ancestral homelands. She is also a member of Accompany, an artists’ collective who walk and work alongside community organisations and social movements. Parr was the recipient of the 2019 Iris Fisher Scholarship and 2016 Tāmaki Estuary Art Award.


Becky Nunes

Title: An Age of Iron
Year: 2020
Length: 08:16
Format: HD video
Credits: Director: Becky Nunes

This short experimental documentary asks the audience to consider land rights, resource extraction, ownership, and our relationships with more-than-human materials and place.
Tahāroa is a tiny settlement to the South-West of the Kawhia harbor, in the North Island of New Zealand. At the end of a long winding road the township itself sits in a tight huddle of new and older houses and workers’ cottages. N.Z Steel first brokered an agreement with local tribe 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 prolonged mineral extraction and the re-introduction of that material into the global manufacturing chain might mean for the mauri (or
spirit) of the land, and for our planetary relationships.
Thematic tags: Documentary, mining, ecology, labour

Title: Open Home – a glimpse into Ann Shelton’s House Work.
Year: 2016
Length: 06:00
Format: HD video
Credits: Director/Producer: Becky Nunes
On December 5th and 6th of 2015 groups of curious guests were invited to attend an offsite event as part of Enjoy Gallery’s Enjoy Feminisms exhibition. This event took place in a house designed for Nancy Martin, a musician and educator, by immigrant architect Frederick Ost, in 1957. Artist Ann Shelton and her partner now live in this house, and in House Work Shelton and ghost-writer Pip Adam weave together past and present, archive and fiction. This film is a document of that event.
Thematic tags: performance, documentary, capitalism, politics, feminism, work/labour

Title: Pictures on Paper – The Photobook in New Zealand
Year: 2017
Length: 27:00
Format: HD video
Credits: Director: Becky Nunes & Anita Totha Producer: Becky Nunes. Sound: David Cowlard. Camera: Parisa Taghizadeh & David Cowlard. A Tangent Production
The photo-book has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years. Combined with on-demand publishing it now offers photographers unprecedented and unmediated access to audiences for their work. From a bespoke and limited edition artist book to a large print run showcasing the entire body of work of an artist, the photo-book has shifted from background to foreground for the attention of art fairs, libraries and collectors. This short documentary charts some of the key moments in the history of the photo book in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Interviews with early proponents of the form such as photographer/publisher Haru Sameshima and photographer David Cook give context. Harvey Benge talks about his long-term obsession with the photobook format, his own printed works and his extensive collection.Importantly, the film also foregrounds the now; a slice of contemporary bookmaking in the early 21st Century. Solomon Mortimer, David Cook & Ann Shelton are some of the important lens-based artists working in the medium today. This documentary has no claims on any encyclopedic qualities. Rather, it aims to intrigue, inspire and provoke debate around a medium that, in the South Pacific at least, is still in its teenage years. The photo book, like any art form linked intrinsically with technology as its means of production, is on the move. What this film portrays as the “now” of 2015 will be an important archival contribution to our collective imaging history in the turn of a page.
Thematic tags:Documentary, history of New Zealand photography

Becky Nunes is a lens-based artist and educator. Her images have been awarded, published & exhibited locally and internationally. Nunes is a founder member of Tangent Collective. She works at the nexus of fine art and documentary practice, most recently producing and directing the awarded documentary film This Air is a Material. Her primary field of research is the complex arena of site, subject and the co-authoring of representation. Her work articulates, via photographs, moving image and sound, some of the complex narratives of Aotearoa in the era of the Anthropocene.


Moving Image Archive is a RM Gallery and Project Space project
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