So today, we asked a fireman if he'd like a fireman's lift. He said he was too busy getting to his next fire. But we did synchronize our watches with his.
We welcomed people to 'our (Wellington City) library' and thanked them for coming. We shook some hands and helped some people carry their books. Security asked us not to take photographs in the library. We arranged chairs in Clerks Cafe in a neat long row, measuring space between them with our feet. When we were asked to move them back we did so.
We offered to read people poetry carrying copies of NZ poets from the library. Indeed, reading work by Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O'Brien we bumped into Gregory O'Brien himself going to a meeting at MFAT.
At MFAT we arrived to find that foreign affairs had been well briefed on our arrival. Two security guards were on-hand 'for our protection' as much as MFAT's, apparently. (By the end of the session we had almost recruited one to be a member of our team.) For we came in peace: aiming to find the best ways to help people in the foyer. It was suddenly as if the civil service was overstaffed. We pressed the lift buttons, thanked them and gave them handshakes, opened doors and held the lift doors for them. We mulled on whether it was of most help to get as many people into one lift as possible (efficient!) or to ensure they got a lift to themselves. Some people found congratulating, and thanking people, tricky - if their job was under threat would they feel like we were rubbing it in? If they were one of those doing the chopping would they feel threatened? Most reactions were warm and amused, some bemused. It felt heartening.
As we walked down the road we all tried to nod and smile at people and make eye contact.
At other times we made way for people, stepping aside as a group to ease their passage.
At Midland Park we conducted research into handshakes as a group, giving people feedback on their grip and temperature. At other times, we provided a barrier between pedestrians and cars as they negotiated a particularly tricky pedestrian crossing.
We did the same over a narrow piece of Lambton Quay where lots of people jaywalked and assisted by carrying some people across the road. We were followed and photographed by a Korean couple. We handed out schedules programming of public broadcasting: TVNZ7 and Radio New Zealand.
Finding ways of being productive and of service in public spaces was very empowering. You're welcome to join us.
So today, we asked a fireman if he'd like a fireman's lift. He said he was too busy getting to his next fire. But we did synchronize our watches with his.
A debrief blog conversation between Letting Space's Mark and Sophie and artist Julian Priest.
Julian Priest’s installation for Splore was called Free of Charge.
Mark and Sophie from Letting Space, Julian Priest and fellow artist Trudy Lane were on hand for around 12 hours during Splore to process and engage with the public (the Splore community) one by one. Julian had created what looked like an airport security screening system, installed, appositely, next to the marvelous beach and an alternately muddy and sandy path on the way to a chill out area (the marvelous Portavilion from Cut Collective and Emma Underhill (Up Projects) and the ‘Hooha Hut’ (a DJ booth and drinks area).
People were asked to remove their shoes and any electrical devices, put them in trays and have them rolled through on a conveyor. Stepping onto a metal archway they were able to see their electrostatic charge reading and then, by way of depressing a black button on the plate with their right toe, discharge that electricity to a copper earthing rod. They became grounded.
Sophie: So for me, one of the biggest impressions I got from working at Splore on Free of Charge was the sense that people were happy to queue.
As a New Zealander and not a Brit, I have always prided myself on some degree of non-compliance with, or disruption of, the inevitable queues that form in Other People's Countries'. You two, Julian and Mark, both being born in the UK, may feel more affectionately about queues.
I mean, I know the punters at Splore had very little time pressure, could see that we were making some kind of fun/art, were still able to stand in the sun and talk to their friends and get through the line relatively quickly (making the queue more attractive), but I still find it odd that so many of them were happy to queue without understanding what we were doing. Most of them seemed to ask what it was all about only when they approached the machine and didn't seem to mind that they didn't understand. What if the machine was actually reading the status of their bank balances via the rfid wrist tags? What if, like the Skinny campaign onsite, we were a flimsy front for a greedy corporate?
OK, so there were plenty who didn't queue too, who walked on past or came in behind us to watch what was being measured over our shoulders, but they were in the minority.
Julian: There was certainly an air of compliance with the security apparatus there, but maybe it's gone so far these days that screening is becoming associated with pleasure - after all any international holiday experience starts with a security screening. Also I think people are attracted to queues - queues signify a group of people with about to be fulfilled needs. Then there was the 'free of charge' message scrolling across the screen which must have got peoples consumer instincts going as well.
I enjoyed the role of security officer and the official language that we adopted as the piece unfolded - 'step up to the plate please ma'am', 'please depress the black button with your right big toe.." . It was amazing to be on the receiving end of people's trust as a result of these formalities. The format allowed for really very open conversations to quickly develop with each participant. I loved the way people's expectation of your role pushed back on you and made you adopt security officer mannerisms. And then at that point when people understood that the screening was basically some kind of wellness procedure you suddenly got flipped from being an authority figure of the security apparatus to being some kind of health practitioner - and you'd be into conversations about the health benefits or not of being grounded etc, - you suddenly jumped from one side of state service provision to the other - hawks to doves.
Mark: I don’t think it’s surprising that people were so willing to queue. Its modus operandi at these things on arrival and to buy food and drinks surely? Though Splore I think is spatially generally so much freer and easier in terms of numbers and the glorious site. I agree Soph though otherwise - I was struck by the number of young people (disturbingly young girls in my experience there) who thought that they HAD to pass through the machine to access the next part of the site.
They seemed to be almost magnetically drawn to it… Sure, this is arguably part of the work – people asking as they encounter it “will there be repercussions if I’m NOT processed” – but it was as you say the willingness. An art installation people were troubled by their relationship too immediately – I loved that.
The air of big brother compliance was heightened nicely by the provision of those cashless wristbands, which allowed the vendors and not the customers to read what their cash balance was. I often joked with the punters that the machine would delete any cash on their bands - given their lack of control this was a joke that was maybe a little to close to the bone.
My immediate impression after leaving is also around people, but as to what a festival like Splore offers the visual arts. So often there’s such a vacuum of immediate response and conversation about artwork that is meant to be socially orientated that you put up in a gallery, or even in our urban projects. At Splore having to individually interact with 1000 people one by one as we did over some 11 hours of operation - talk to them, engage with them, having created a mechanism that allows you to process that number - was a very empowering and interesting experience as an arts producer. Beyond those ‘processed’ you also couldn’t stand anywhere near the work, even when not on, without someone within a few seconds approaching you and asking you WTF it was and whether it was good for you. They were relaxed, high, ‘free’, and feeling confident.
Then there were the 1000s more who just walked past and mused on its relationship to them – it really stuck out nicely against the beach and colourful flags as a piece of grey bureaucratic machinery, engaging but worrisome.
As you say the far scarier face of control was Skinny’s free frisbees, lilos and water toys – but given their huge visual impact I wouldn’t call them ‘flimsy’, they were pretty irresistible, clever candy in this context. Devastatingly effective - but useful at least.
Julian: Yes the 'Free' telco sponsored gifts were a good contrast - a reminder of the 'Free' we are normally sold. I liked the feeling that people would leave 'Free of Charge' with - I remember quite a few exclaiming 'Yes! I'm free of charge!' - they were free to go too. I hope we gave them something by re-balancing their electrostatics.
Sophie: By flimsy, I am meaning that Julian only had to ask the Skinny girl who was in charge of the campaign and she admitted it was Telecom who was giving away a host of plastic beach gear and tats tagged 'skinny' under this new brand. So you scratch the surface of these 'post-advertising' campaigns and find that one of NZ's largest companies is cleverly rebranding to a generation who doesn't do broadcast media. What I liked most about Free of Charge was that for the Splorers, it was odd yet candid: there were no hidden lures. We were offering an experience, Free of Charge.
A full gallery of images of Free of Charge and a short video interview with Julian with film of the work in operation can be found here.
Over the last two weeks Mark Harvey and Letting Space have held a couple of sessions with people interested in being involved in Productive Bodies May 12 to 16 (though people can just rock up to City Gallery any day of that week at 10am to observe opr join in). One of the most interesting elements of these have been how collaborative the process has been in gathering ideas from discussion and peoples experiences, working always towards group consensus on directions. Below are some of the ideas floated. Come on along.
- People shuffling paper - the idea of quantitative productivity.
- Offering people things in the street and they have to do something in return.
- The idea of 'Actioning things' - new vocabulary. Doing 'Actionings'
- Having committee meetings in circles
- Wiping the floor ahead of people
- Rolling out the red carpet
- Stacking chairs - moving and restacking
- Moving chairs around in cafes that operate in commons areas - the furniture thats in public spaces.
- Improving the space.
- Measuring spaces between tables - ensuring there's room for wheelchairs
- Measuring space with our feet
- Using a chair as a measurement
- Using the body as a measurement tool.
- Everyone carrying one person "would you like a lift?" as they come out of the lifts
- When you're not employed suddenly you don't have end of year parties - hold a a welcome party?
- The awkward farewell speeches when people are made redundant - honesty is exasperated by alcohol. What will they blurt out? Anyone who wants to do an awkward speech
- Standing in a circle talking can feel very genuine and can invite people in - circles in foyers. Talking and planning in a circle. Inviting people in.
- Issues of personal space - how much space around you is personal. Experimenting with this
Moving horizontal bodies on the steps of parliament.
- Groups holding individuals. Moving them from prostrate position to seated positions.
- Teambuilding exercises
- What can we offer people?
- A team of people creating a personal space around them as they walk - like bodyguards.
- How to walk most efficiently as a group. Swarms. Arrowheads.
- Clothes swapping
- A line of people getting an honorary handshake. Experimenting with different types of handshakes.
Letting people know the time and the weather outside. Giving them directions. Being of service.
- Acting as roving consultants.
- Shaking people's hands continuously.
- Walking around as a group with empty cardboard boxes.
- Market research - how irrelevant and abstract it can become - ask people questions, research handshakes, with someone assessing the quality and working out averages and percentages.
What do artists, community leaders, innovators, homemakers, and free thinkers have in common?
Answer: They are all often at some time classified by the government as unemployed or not in full-time employment - and have to deal with the stigma, and bureaucracy, these terms invoke.
They are all, however, ‘productive bodies’. Be that the fundamental productivity of giving birth to future generations and raising them, providing the glue that holds communities together through organising or participating in events and groups, helping those less fortunate, or innovators changing the way we think about the world.
I thought a lot about this when Sophie Jerram and I (as public art programme Letting Space) were working with Tao Wells on the development of his project The Beneficiary’s Office. That work in turn has inspired Mark Harvey to create Productive Bodies, a group performance work we are producing March 12-16 in City Gallery Wellington and the streets of Wellington.
Looking around at my friends and neighbourhood, I realised that so many people I knew not in full-time employment were doing work for the ‘public good’. They juggle the search for work with community and creative work that feeds them, and in turn us.
For Productive Bodies we are gathering together people for information evenings on Wednesday February 22 and 29 (8pm, Toi Poneke, 61-69 Abel Smith Street, Wellington). All are welcome: artists, those between jobs and redundant civil servants - we will talk with Mark Harvey about our experiences. If you identify with any of what I talk about above, we’d really love to see you there.
Why do we mention redundant civil servants? Putting aside for the moment that we have seen thousands made redundant in Wellington in the last two years, and that the public service is such a significant part of Wellington’s urban landscape, the civil service is the infrastructure and administration that allows everyone else to scurry around being productive.
The work of a public servant has been often driven by a sense of doing public good. To be relieved of such a post must be for many difficult. This is a fragile time. You are less likely to consider yourself ‘unemployed’ as ‘between jobs’, ‘looking for the best offer’, ‘working on contract’, or ‘taking a break’ (as Tao encouraged people to consider).
Vulnerability is heightened by the fact that of all classes of workers public servants may have held some sort of job security. The public service may now be full of short term contracts but it’s arguably still a different ballgame to the self-made entrepreneur, freelance writer or artist, for whom there has never been a sense of a secure future.
With this work Mark Harvey and Letting Space wants to involve a rich mix of people who have different ideas of what job security, productivity and ‘community service’ mean. Community Service is the name of the series our current Letting Space projects are all running under. Should civil and community service be treated so different?
We all serve. We are all productive bodies in having and raising children, bringing our communities together, advocating for change and experimenting with different ways of doing things. Artists meanwhile need to be better publicly recognised as not isolated self-interested cells but vital contributors – change agents. Many of the great projects of our country have come from people who have had the time to re-imagine and reinvent beyond being worker bees.
We are not alone in thinking this way. We’re also looking forward to bringing together with Mark as part of the project academic and former MP Marilyn Waring and economist Susan Guthrie for a discussion at the Arts Festival Club during the week of the performances. Guthrie has worked a lot in new thinking around issues of income inequality and productivity. Waring is a highly regarded and generous thinker and gifted communicator on looking at alternative economic models for valuing GDP and people’s productive work.
In a recent interview from Canada I read with Waring this weekend she makes direct links between civil and unpaid community service.
“In the mainstream, any movement has always been toward the "market." That is, there continues to be the assumption that the only way in which work can be visible or valuable is if you treat it as if it were a market commodity or a market service and you attribute a value to it. That approach is anathema to me. As somebody on the front line of making policy, the information I need is what women do with their time.
“I can give you a very good example. In Alberta, you've gone through a rough period where government services have been cut and the responsibility for continuing to carry out a lot of services hasn't devolved to the private sector, but to the "community." We know that "community" is usually mom or daughter or aunty or neighbour or some other woman who already works 16 to 18 hours a day. Sometimes she's in the paid work force; sometimes not.
“There's been no investigation in Alberta into whether quality care or quality servicing can go on in this devolution. There's no investigation about the training or the time available to these people. They are just supposed to take over. The most important question is not what is the value of the work they are doing, but do they have time to do it? What inputs do they need to be able to do the work adequately?”
We’d love as many people as possible to join us on what should be a very interesting and fun journey. See you on February 22 or 29 if you’re keen.
To register or ask questions give us a bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the latest Letting Space art project, Productive Bodies, artist Mark Harvey is calling for redundant public servants, beneficiaries and people who work in the arts to participate in a performance work during the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in March next year.
“We are particularly interested in working with people who have been laid off from the government sector, people who work in the arts, and people who feel vulnerable in their employment in the current economic and political climate,” says Harvey.
This work follows that of an earlier Letting Space project, Tao Wells’ The Beneficiary’s Office which caused controversy in late 2010. “On the one handProductive Bodies is a response to Tao’s work but moreover it responds to the political conditions facing government employees, beneficiaries and artists. We’re asking ‘What does it mean for these people to be valued and useful?’”, says Harvey.
Both artists and government employees face threats during this current political period. As the Dominion Post has reported, over 900 civil servants have lost jobs in Wellington in the past 12 months and more redundancies are expected.
Harvey expects the performance of Productive Bodies to be physical and playful. “This will be a fun, collective experience and provide some exercise,” he says. People willing to participate in the performance over the week 12-16 March 2012 should contact email@example.com
Productive Bodies is being produced with assistance from Creative New Zealand and in association with City Gallery Wellington. For further information on the project go to http://www.lettingspace.org.nz/productive-bodies
For more information, contact Mark Amery 027 3566 128 or Sophie Jerram 029 9349749
In October Letting Space spoke at Where Art Belongs? a symposium at Massey University. It was a great opportunity for us to mull on where we’re at and where we’re going, ahead of diving into new projects. Thanks to Gradon Diprose (whose PhD in train is on art and social activism) we have a transcript. We provide an edited record here of us: Letting Space, late 2011. This was the first part of our presentation.
I often have a phrase from a pop song in my head, riffing constantly - as probably many of us do. Last night it was that line at the end of Guns and Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ which goes: ‘Where do we go? Where do we go?’. It popped into my head after last night’s opening talks. But what I then learned - Facebook grazing through some website about the genesis of “songs that were never meant to be songs” – that it was never meant to be. Jamming the new song, the band got to the end of what they had devised and Axl Rose literally didn’t know where they should go next. Vocalising this predicament, ‘where do we go’ became a spoken refrain.
After Chris Kraus’s presentation last night - about the 18 month life of famed LA artist-run space Tiny Creatures - it reminded me that, when you start something you often don’t really know where you’re going. You don’t have a strategic plan. We’re trying to be business minded and all that, but Sophie and I initially really just came together and started working. Beyond some initial clear mandates, our way of doing things evolved through doing projects - over the last 18 months.
It’s really lovely that Caterina, the new Artspace Director is here because Sophie and I were both involved in Artspace in the early ‘90s. Artspace was a very different organisation to what it is now. In a sense it was a bit like Tiny Creatures and the current Artspace having a bit of a fight: it was a community space, and it was a space where curators were coming in and trying to assert what was going on. That period was very interesting. Teststrip started in Vulcan Lane, and the artists-run space model went one way, Artspace the other.
Sophie and I were both really interested in intermedia, both engaged in the performing arts as well, and we were involved in setting up a programme outside of the gallery space called Letting Space - about half a dozen arts projects around town in vacant property which responded to that current recession. It was alot more hands off - in fact we basically left town during that programme, independent of each other moving to Wellington.
It was only really only a couple of years ago that we turned around to each other and said “the recession is happening again”. We re-connected personally and professionally and Letting Space as it is today was born.
Thinking about talking today we were both rather provoked by the title of this symposium: ‘where art belongs’. If you were to ask a lot of people how they would describe Letting Space, they’d probably say “Oh those are those guys that do things in vacant commercial properties”. That gets our backs up a little bit - even though its absolutely understandable - because we’re more interested in how art is sited, not where. Art not as exhibition in an exhibition space, but how art can integrate as part of the social fabric. How it can play a part in life, as a way of testing ideas and provoking and enabling change. The gallery model is a really important laboratory - but we’re really interested in how we can activate the potential of artists and empower them to work very much as part of the whole fabric of things.
I’m entirely with Mark on that. We have come together as curators who want to help make the best of an artist’s practice and to frame that work for the best for an audience. We’re constantly thinking about the audience and about the public, and in New Zealand the art audience can be kind of small. We’ve felt it’s even more important to be reaching into the public with this series.
Originally back in 1993 it was part of our agenda that we wanted to put art on the streets. We sensed that art had slid towards a kind of a clique. So I was interested in this talk about ‘where art belongs’ too, because although obviously the title of today’s symposium came from the title of Chris Kraus’ great new book, the idea of using this as a symposium title was really interesting.
Where does art belong? Well, I don’t think art comes knocking at the door to ask permission. Art doesn’t say, ‘excuse me, can I sit here?’ I feel like the question is maybe ‘where do I belong?’ or ‘where I as an artist or a curator belong?’ I think it belongs within the framework in which we live.
We’ll talk later about the likes of Creative Time, which is a movement in New York which has been running since 1974. Their latest symposium was called ‘living as form’. It wasn’t art as form, it was living as form because living is the framework art should be sitting within.
I suppose I’d like to invert - in the well-honed tradition of a symposium - the question, and ask not where does art belong but ‘what belongs in art?’ For me that’s everything. For us the utility of art and the importance of pushing boundaries is really important. To keep going outwards to the society. We’re facing some huge crisis in terms of economics and the environment. We know that. We see that artists have the edge and that’s a framework Letting Space still works from.
The word ‘independent’ comes up with Letting Space. I remember being in a discussion at Enjoy gallery and Ann Shelton was asking whether we’re an ‘institution’ or not. That’s a really interesting question. We’ve both worked in public galleries and we know the university environment, but essentially we’re not from either. We’re not on salaries. We’ve largely stayed as people outside of it and independent of it - I mean I’ve worked a lot as an art critic. We’ve relished the fact that we are independent. We don’t have any boxes to fight against.
When Heather Galbraith suggested for this talk we think about work in New Zealand that inspired us, most of it was in the gallery. Most of it was talking to the gallery, hammering against the walls. And we were kind of going, “well, we’re not actually in the gallery and don’t want to be, nor see that artists necessarily always want to work in this frame.” Our freedom and our joy is the belief that we can work with artists who are interested not just in their ideas being in an artist run space or just in a gallery. They too are engaged with the idea that their art can be just as complex and rich and not lost out in the world.
I think we often have a great tension working as two people between the works political intent and its artistic efficacy. That it has to be about social change, but also be good art. Which is to say, the shape of it. It’s not just about the placard or the banner and how loud you can be. It’s recognising that really great art historical moments have had a political charge. They have been relevant. They’re not just about aesthetics. So for us its a marriage between political intent and a project’s strength aesthetically, or whatever that’s going on there. That’s a really interesting tension for us in the development of projects.
EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST SOUGHT
FROM: ARTISTS AND OTHER PARTNERS
FOR: THE TRANSITIONAL ECONOMIC ZONE OF AOTEAROA (TEZA)
as part of ISEA, the 18th International Symposium of Electronic Art
Santa Fe, New Mexico September 19-October 20, 2012
With the US empire on its knees, now is the time for the rat to chew at the guy ropes of North American hegemony.
We are inviting artists, scientists and commercial partners to contribute to the Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa (TEZA). Please send initial concepts for the TEZA or any questions by November 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery
Letting Space, Wellington New Zealand October 2011
Since the 1980s, throughout Africa, India, South East and Central Asia, economic activity has been generated by governments through the establishment of Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, and Temporary Zones (all broadly called Special Economic Zones). Usually these zones are managed by the host country to expedite entry by companies from resource hungry and cash rich countries (eg China, Taiwan, Israel). Conducting business in a SEZ usually means that a company will receive tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs. Sometimes these zones are also exempt from local environmental and human rights obligations.
For ISEA 2012, The Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa, bounded by questionable territorial lines, is around 8000 square metres (three acres) of an area of the desert near Santa Fe. New Zealanders are highly experienced at making camp and, much like a tent city found in war zones or refugee camps, the TEZA is quick to assemble and has a makeshift, transitory feel to it. We may employ the assistance of the NZ army or an army of temporary workers from New Zealand companies in the region to construct the site. The kiwi ‘can do’ attitude and recent opening of sea beds to oil prospecting shows that a small nation in the South Pacific might also become a fast moving, exploitative and hungry predator. Marketing of the TEZA via digital and mainstream media channels however will indicate that this Special Economic Zone is very different from the SEZs of Zambia or Myanmar.
The TEZA is, at first approach and by most appearances, another SEZ managed for economic gain through the resources that are assumed to be trapped under the soil. The apparent narrative may be that with New Zealand’s interest in photo voltaics (leading to solar power) but lack of silicon, silica is the resource presumed to feed the TEZA ‘power base’ (what appears to be a private/public syndicate of iwi, corporate and government interests).
However, upon exploration, visitors to TEZA discover a far more generous world: one interested in the sustainable exchange of ideas and resources for the betterment of the planet, rather than one which is hungry and exploitative. From a distance TEZA may call to mind all the negative connotations of contemporary refugee detention centres or zones of resource extraction run by major corporates. Yet on encounter it will prove equally to be reminiscent of the village feel of major festivals. However, rather than the principal goal of these festival businesses to provide entertainment, TEZA will push their community models to the fore in inviting artists and scientists to work for the benefit of all participants and the local community, within which it is a temporary resident.
On approach the TEZA visually resembles a POW camp, bordered by flags, signs and temporary structures. Whilst welcoming most applicants, like any territory there are border controls and bureacractic procedures all immigrants to The TEZA need to undergo. The entry point will involve other forms of welcome.
Our hosts: friendly strong young men and women dressed in highlighter jackets and hard hats, greeting visitors with a big ‘kia ora’ – and welcomed with dignity.
Inside the fence visitors are able to explore a range of areas of ‘the Zone’ e.g. a learning zone, an entertainment stage, activity areas, a meditative space, and working groups looking at purifying water or sorting sand. This is a happy village.
Part of the exciting tension about developing the project is the enquiry into land rights, occupation, and indigenous peoples and the way cultural protocol will operate.
The principles of TEZA:
- We intend to leave New Mexico having contributed more than we have taken - whether through exchange between Aotearoa peoples and first nations people in the area, through the gift of New Zealand flora, the gift of intellectual property, or other social relationships. Positive impact on communities in New Mexico is integral to the project.
- The TEZA is a society driven by matriarchal values, teaching respect for the land and responding to what we have learnt from it.
- Whilst utopian at one level, the TEZA genuinely seeks to join the local knowledge from the Santa Fe region with knowledge from Aotearoa. The experience in Aotearoa of establishing relationships of reciprocity, and the lessons learnt from the repression/denial of people’s sovereignity, will be brought to the zone and the land, alongside a spirit of generosity and fun.
Artistic, scientific, cultural and traditional knowledge solutions are sought in the following physical areas for the TEZA
A supplier of extensive solar Photo Voltaics is being sought for powering the motors of the site. Work that explores sustainability R&D is also sought.
Expressions of interest from artists and scientists (or artists and scientists in collaboration) to present artwork, experiments or technology that further the aims of the TEZA are now being sought.
Visas - working and visitor visas will be required
Security machines for ‘roving’ the perimeter fence and airspace.
Procedures and ceremony for first approaches, and then social encounters will be needed.
Expressions of interest in contributions to the boundary and physical set-up of TEZA are welcomed.
Music, games and activities will play an important part in establishing relationships.
Digital and physical games and activities which reward and enhance co-operative principles are sought.
Musical and other performing arts are also sought.
A meditation and interfaith zone will be erected inside one of the tents.
Plans for digital Maori po whenua are already in place in eight key points around the boundary
Maori cosmological talks relating to astronomical viewing will also be provided.
Other expressions are now welcomed.
A canteen environment is required - a group of people to run this and projects around food and ritual and hospitality are welcome.
Buses from Santa Fe or elsewhere will come and visit at prescribed limited times when TEZA can be fully operational.
Ideas involving methods of induction into the site during transport are welcomed.
Documentation and public relations:
We welcome digital electronic contributions possible from NZ and elsewhere to the TEZAs web presence which, depending on contributions, could be a very significant aspect of this project.
Knowledge and partnership:
Partnership with NZ government departments, and private providers happy to acknowledge TEZA principles are sought in conjunction with this project.
At present all artists and scientists will need to find funding and accommodation for participation in TEZA. Residencies may be available for some of our workers at Santa Fe and Alburqueque institutions.
Sophie Jerram, on behalf of Letting Space
(Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery), in conjunction with Te Urutahi Waikerepuru from Taranaki and James Charlton at AUT
Please send initial concepts for the TEZA or any questions by November 10 to email@example.com
Further background comment from Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram
Globalisation has seen the way Aotearoa New Zealand operates internationally change radically in recent years – culturally, politically, economically. From Fonterra in China to giant rugby balls in Paris to refugee detention centres in the Pacific to pianos in Venice, the way we operate territorially in terms of interaction, marketing, and distribution with other partners and likeminded communities has been transformed and is full of tensions. Likewise the way government and iwi operate territorially in public/private partnerships has seen shifts in the way we exercise our values and utilise ours and others resources.
Welcome to an art project that takes New Zealand creativity and an ability to collaborate in developing cultural and scientific exchange to a new conceptual level. Testing out charged issues of sovereignty and intellectual property internationally, the TEZA stakes out our own territory and branded zone in the rich New Mexican desert.
From Sophie Jerram:
I have long been interested in our attempts at creating difference and managing boundaries. I see this work as a curatorial extension of my practice in this area, which first began with Tawharanui Open Sanctuary in 2010. For this summer residency I made a short animated film and installation called the Mud People of Tawharanui which dealt with the attempts to define cultural and physical zones and maintain them.
The following from the Santa Fe residency application for ISEA 2011 is also highly relevant:
“When an object or system stops performing its assigned function in contemporary society, we tend to replace it rather than repair it. However, artists redefine useless as useful by creating a new life for objects, and that renewed life alters the role of these objects entirely. Artists work similar magic with degraded landscapes, blighted neighborhoods and other systems, infusing them with new purpose and expanding the potential for positive change.”