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"By setting up a conversation around archives, memory and temporality, McKinnon is also asking questions about mortality. The conundrum for all collectors of artefacts is the tension between use and preservation, obscurity or death." 



18 April - 9 May 2010

A room in a poorly funded archive. Bare. Dimly lit. Grubby shelves support cassette players looping through fragments and dust. A soft din, a sonic tincture colouring the air. Shards of pop history puncture the noise of time. A choir of scavaged hooks, licks and choruses. An invitation to remember through the dismembered, the almost discarded, the chanced upon somewhere, the kept just because.

The archive is open. Open to other loops, personal collections of mix-tapes and cassette copied singles, LPs, CDS. Private musical histories provide artifacts for reconstruction and recontextualisation by contemporary archeologists of the recent past. The installation enables this sonic-historical process. Welcomes you to participate in your own forgetting and recollection. Bring a box of tapes and some friends.

“The installation plays upon the myth of totality that has emerged in the online era, an era in which the entire world is available in digitised form, effectively replacing the real in an enactment of Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra…”

Dugal McKinnon is a composer, sound artist and Director of the Lilburn Electroacoustic Music Studios at the New Zealand School of Music. His music has been performed in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. His work Geophony, a sound installation using realtime seismic data streams, was installed as part of the Adam Art Gallery’s Sound Circuit programme. 

Property Partner: The Wellington Company

The Wellington Company was established in 1990 and has been a major player in the redevelopment of Wellington city's urban environments and historic places. The company initiated the residential redevelopment of inner city Wellington and took a major role in the resurgence of Wellington's Cuba quarter. Major projects include Willis Central, Conservation House and the  Hannah's Block. Directors Ian Cassels and Caitlin Taylor began developing property in Wellington in the early 1990s, concentrating on rejuvenating the pre-1960 buildings that the city had discarded and disowned long ago. For more information go to

Thanking the following people whose assistance made Popular Archeology possible: APRA, Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Ian Cassells, Jude Chambers, Foster Clark, Jaime Cortez, Jeremy Coubrough, India Davis, Natalie Ellen-Eliza, Alexandra Hay, Pieta Hextall, John Hobbs, Jack Hooker, Zane Jarvis, San Kang, Kirstin Martis, Sally McIntyre, Gabrielle McKone, Melanie Moreau, Jeannie Mueller, Briar Munro, Kannika Ou, Emi Pogoni, Laura Preston, Richard Robertshaw, Martin Rodgers, Georgina Titheridge, Roger Ward, Jason Wright, and all who have contributed players and tapes to the sound archive.