Wild Creations combines art and environment to tell conservation story
5 Dec 2018
Four New Zealand artists are set to be inspired by New Zealand’s natural environment and cultural heritage.
Wild Creations is a fusion of conservation and creativity, supporting artists to be inspired by experiencing the places, people, and stories of New Zealand’s unique natural environment and cultural heritage.
Wild Creations is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, providing artists with access to a range of DOC experiences, such as a threatened species or historic icon experience.
Lou Sanson, DOC Director-General says, “Wild Creations enables artists to tell stories of nature through their own medium. It helps to tell the New Zealand story of conservation and bring New Zealanders a totally new appreciation of what nature means to us as a country with so many special places and species".
Its aim is to help connect more Kiwis to our natural environment and cultural heritage, says Lou Sanson.
Artists apply to Creative New Zealand for funding to take part in/observe a conservation experience and create an artwork or works based on their experience. They may work in any artform or area of arts practice supported by Creative New Zealand.
Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says having such direct exposure to nature helps influence artists’ thinking, knowledge and practice.
“Artists who have taken part in Wild Creations have gained more appreciation of the natural environment, and also a better understanding of complex environmental issues and incorporated these into their work.
“From telling the stories of club ski-field communities to creating an audio-visual simulation of a pre-settlement Wellington waterfront and a futuristic view of how gene editing in conservation could integrate with mātauranga Māori, these are exciting projects,” he says.
This year four artists will receive Creative New Zealand funding, enabling them to experience one of several conservation environments as inspiration for three projects. The projects will take place between December 2018 and June 2019.
About the projects
Urban / Environment
Joel Baxendale & Oliver Devlin
Joel and Oliver will create an audio-visual led walk along the Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington harbour) waterfront, which juxtaposes the present urban landscape with images and sounds of the harbour pre-settlement. Their project aims to disrupt the boundary between urban and natural environments, challenging how we think, act and appreciate these spaces. It involves using binaural audio and video recordings taken from public conservation land that match the historic flora and fauna of the Wellington waterfront. Smartphones playing video of the route will guide the audience as they navigate their way along the walk. The kaupapa of their work is to explore and re-imagine the historical environment of Whanganui-a-Tara and see and hear how it has been modified by humans over time into the current landscape. It will pose questions to the audience such as: “What has our impact been on this environment?”, “What would it be like if we were to disappear or had never been here?” and “How might a future look where co-existence and co-operation with nature are overarching principles?”
Terri Te Tau
Kōhuia is a visual art and speculative fiction project underpinned by research that will explore how gene editing technologies might be used in conservation and biodiversity loss. Taking the form of an artist’s novel, a narrative will be formed around the production of 'speculative embroidery.' The project will investigate the complex relationships between DNA, whakapapa, authenticity and possible questions for Mātauranga Māori. The project will be conducted in the rohe of Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa at the Pūkaha Forest National Wildlife Centre, a conservation reserve in northern Wairarapa.
A lens-based exploration into the alpine environments and communities of club ski fields
Visual artist Bridget Reweti will engage with the active alpine communities of Aotearoa / New Zealand's 11 club ski fields. She will spend time on location at the fields situated on diverse mountains in both the North and South Islands. The fields are home to native flora and fauna, some of which are species endemic to only one area, in December and January. Working alongside club members, Bridget aims to develop field recordings that highlight the knowledge, passion and connection each club has with alpine areas. Her work will also aid an understanding of the current trajectory of snow decline and what ‘above the bushline’ may look like in the future.