THE VERNACULARIST Exploring the vernacular as a social movement NUMBER ONE: Vernacular Perspectives November 2013
Linda Blincko Barry Brickell Nigel Brown John Coley Guy Collier John Coutts Tim D. Erin Forsyth Mia Hamilton Peter Jennings Lia Kent Mackillop Brendan Kitto Margaret Lawlor-Bartlett Rachel Liebert Marie E Potter Gregory J Smith Michael Smythe Terese Storey Denys Trussell Yonel Watene Tony Watkins Benjamin Work
Stone, art and architecture, community, fame, successful ceramics, vernacularity, multi-tasking, incubation in isolation, kula, news fit to draw and more...
Published by Depot Artspace 28 Clarence St Devonport Auckland 0624 New Zealand Phone: (09) 963-2331 www. nzculturalgenealogymapping. wordpress.com First Published 2013 ÂŠ 2013 Depot Artspace and the acknowledged contributors as listed and assigned to each article and image. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any electronic or mechanical means without the wirtten permission of the publisher and the relevant contributor(s). ISSN 2350-3343 NUMBER ONE Proofing/creative development: Linda Blincko Art direction/editing: Erin Forsyth Cover image: Mata Lupe (dove motif, detail), Benjamin Work, spray paint and acrylic. Painted in Palmerston North, 2012. See pages 19 - 22 for more.
Back cover image: Portrait of Carl Longhurst, Lia Kent Mackillop, digital photograph, 2013. Look out for more about Carl in The Vernacularist Number Two: The Community Issue.
Table of Contents
Fame Game I - Brendan Kitto
Nelson Mandela - Linda Blincko
Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Letter - Erin Forsyth
Sort of Vernacular List Reconsidered - Nigel Brown
29 - 30
The Multi Tasker - Marie E. Potter
31 - 32
7 8 9 - 10
Totems - Yonel Watene
33 - 34
Foreword - Denys Trussell About The Vernacularist Manifesto The Vernacularist Manifesto A Vernacularist Glossary - Linda Blincko
The Porn Project 11 - 12 - Rachel Liebert, images by Peter Jennings
Doggerels - Barry Brickell
Untitled - Guy Collier
35 - 36
Stone Art and Architecture - Gregory J. Smith
13 - 16
All the News Fit to Draw - John Coley
37 - 38
Sort of Vernacular List With Diversions - Nigel Brown
17 - 18
Incubation in Isolation - Michael Smythe
39 - 41
Success: What is it in the Ceramics World 19 - 20 - Mia Hamilton Benjamin Explores Kula - Benjamin Work
21 - 24
Only Those Who Belong Know Who They Are 25 - 27 - Tony Watkins
Caution, Optimism on Hold J- ohn Coutts About the Contributors
42 43 - 44
Fame Game II - Brendan Kitto
Above: Fame Game I, Brendan Kitto, 35mm photograph, Mangere Bridge, 2012 3
Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Vernacularist, Number One: Vernacular Perspectives. The perspectives in question are those of the different individuals who have contributed to this issue by which the vernacular is reintroduced as a descriptor for a vast array of topics and as a social movement. The foreword written by veteran New Zealand poet and patron of the Cultural Icons programme Denys Trussell eloquently addresses the re-appropriated use of vernacular as an expansive term and the value of all it encompasses. Artwork by Benjamin Work and Brendan Kitto expresses the intricacies of expression and association one discovers when exploring cultural identity. The allure of the vernacular from my personal perspective is perhaps the flexibility by which it may be applied to a multitude of subjects and/or used as a prefix for many studies, creative practices/disciplines and cultural products such as vernacular architecture or language. Adding to that allure, as a self-taught artist is how it is often used to signify exclusion from accreditation and association with marginalized or trivialized aspects of culture (things I celebrate as an individual). People have referred to or described buildings and architectural theories and processes as vernacular architecture (architecture which incorporates local materials, traditions and localized needs) for centuries (theory and discussion on the topic has been around since the 1600’s). ‘Vernacular architecture’ has an open and comprehensive usage and is applied as a descriptive term to primitive, aboriginal, indigenous, ancestral, traditional, folk, popular, rural, ethnic, informal, anonymous and ‘non-pedigree’ architecture and more. In addition to architectural concerns there is now recognized need to investigate, celebrate, discuss and document primitive, aboriginal, indigenous, ancestral, traditional, folk, popular, rural, ethnic, informal, anonymous, ‘non-pedigree’, and ‘sub’-cultures. This investigation must be undertaken in order to understand the significance of cultures and their traditions in changing social, economic and political environments and to ensure cultural sustainability outside of a consumerist value system. Reinforcing just how timely this first issue of The Vernacularist is and just how significant this journal may be.
Right: Portrait of Erin Forsyth, Tim D, digital photograph, 2013
- Erin Forsyth 4
Foreword to The Vernacularist: Issue One The Vernacularist concerns itself with the ‘vernacular’, a subject that can be as large as the full range of human expression and the productions of our material culture. Firstly there is a shadow side to the vernacular that is in the junk of our lives. This is the vernacular of consumer society: poor quality crockery, plastic replicas of everything, ruthlessly promoted foodstuffs and drinks that literally release slow poisons into the bodies of the populace. This is a confusing but real use of the word. ‘Vernacular’ does not always mean the aesthetic singularity, expressive truth, and the common good that is carried in the positive meanings of the word. However, I settle mainly for these latter meanings, which I see as being inseparable from our intuition and intelligence. This ‘vernacular’ is not so much a particular kind of art, an idiom, an architectural style. It is rather what Whitman called an ‘original energy’ that is our response to nature and society. It is also local, and, being localised, is universal. Vernacular is not ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘vulgar’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘primitive’, and ‘modern’. It is radical – radical in the full meaning of the word. It is of the root, the root that must strike successfully in the complex soil of reality. The vernacular way is the pathway that follows the irregularity of landscape, without being imposed on it as an over-planned, rigorous abstraction. It is the donkey-track, the sheep-track, and the un-permitted human footpath following the direction of immediate necessity. It is unlike motorways and unrelieved grids of roading. In the arts, what might this mean? An art not so much theory-driven as made from real meetings in real time, between the senses of the artist and the presences in the world that the artist is interpreting; a touching on these phenomena as presences, absolute in their own right. We are told that we cannot really know things in themselves, that we can only know our perceptions or ideas of these things. But, somehow, the vernacular horse-sense in people has never quite accepted this. The arts are ways of knowing. The very act of interpreting the ‘things’ around us, of transfiguring them in artistic languages, is an act of knowing them, just a little, for what they are in themselves. We get in touch with them. To be ‘in touch’ is to join the toucher and the touched, the observer and the observed, the builder and the built, the maker and the made. It is to become part of the continuum of intelligence, being and consciousness that is ourselves and the ‘things’ of the world. Such knowing is intuitive (from the Latin intuito – ‘contemplation’) and transcends both abstract logic and the preconceptions of which our minds are full. The ‘vernacular’ figures largely in this instinctive knowing of this world. Its radical anarchism is not chaotic, but is open to all things in themselves. It eludes preconceived hierarchies of things and is our open-ness to all possibility. That is not to deny the interest and importance of constructs and pre-conceived 5
theories. They have a part to play in our arts and works, but it is not the same intuitive process as our vernacular selves. Plans, ideas, abstractions are the bureaucrats of consciousness. Like bureaucrats in life, if uncorrupted and not possessed of overweening power, they may have a useful role; but they must be kept firmly in their place. That the vernacular is both local and universal may seem an intolerable paradox, but it works. Béla Bartok (1881-1945), whose work is firmly grounded in the Torontal region of southern Hungary and in the sounds of its rural people, speaks to me in ways that have strong affinities with the landscape-saturated music of Douglas Lilburn (1915 – 2002) in New Zealand. The inflection of the language is different, but the essence of the language is the same. In both cases the regional sound is so fully realised that, no matter what the country of the listener, it cuts to the bone of meaning. Confident of such affinities I conclude with an Australian instance of the vernacular. The Northern Territory’s Victoria River District is a vast natural gallery of Aboriginal art. One well-known example is a group of figures inscribed on a large, sandstone, cliff-face panel. These anthropomorphic shapes are a tableau of human meanings. Non-realist, they are stylised in ways now familiar to us. Our western art history has, in the last hundred years, borrowed heavily from indigenous art – its lack of mathematical perspective, its combination of formality and totemic suggestiveness. These figures could be high Modernist as well as vernacular-Aboriginal. They are a local spirit language with metaphysical aims, the symbolism of which would have been known to every member of the community that made them. Ochre shadows of the human soul, they have none of the muscular anatomy with which our Renaissance tradition attempted to represent a humanist essence, yet their imagery speaks to us just as directly. The vernacular universality in them connects with all times in our histories, all places of our habitation.
- Denys Trussell 6
ABOUT THE VERNACULARIST MANIFESTO Vernacularism is by necessity a radical social movement. Without it, and as the shadows of globalism spread across the country like a cloud bank on a weather map, cultural extinction is imminent. We have become enculturated with the notion that ‘big is beautiful ‘and ‘big is more advanced and savvy’ and we actively subscribe to this at the expense of lives made meaningful by cultural diversity. “If the local evokes a personal relationship with the world then the global provides a less tangible connection. We experience the global and the subsequent erosion of indigenous/local culture through its residual deposits– plastic bottles and other disposables – and appropriated cultural products such as dress, language, religious/spiritual beliefs, and relationships such as with the environment and our community.” - Kathleen Wyma, The Hindu, 2010 The Vernacularist Manifesto is a statement of the values and conditions necessary to counteract the sweeping forces of globalism and cultural colonisation – cultural, economic and political forces that work to ‘homogenise and standardise even as they stratify and marginalise.’ It is a work in progress, open to debate, change and addition. We welcome your observations, challenges, changes or additions. 7
THE VERNACULARIST MANIFESTO • Communities and cultures are endangered species as globalism homogenises and hegemonises the world, posing as freedom and the right to choose. • Mass consumerism is fuelled by the forces of corporate capitalism. Nothing is free from commodification, including significant cultural products and features, such as language, attire, rites and rituals, (for a full list of cultural products and features see the glossary on page 9) all of which have deep meaning specific to the group, community or culture. • The appropriation of unique identifying cultural products or symbols is colonisation. The disastrous effects of appropriation – of land, resources, language, cultural symbols or products – on colonised peoples have been explicitly documented, especially in recent times where colonisation has been recognised as the source of much significant social malaise. (Previously it was pathologised and became a self-fulfilling prophecy through the treatment of a distinct group or population.) •
The antidote to rampant and unrelenting colonisation is vernacularism.
• Vernacularism expresses itself through shared language, shared values/beliefs and outwardly recognisable symbols. • The vernacular is a unifying factor amongst cultures and communities. It is the basis of shared meaning, identity and sense of belonging. • Vernacularism is the integration of self with cultural, historical, environmental and social components which give the self both form and meaning and are the compass points by which we give meaning to the world. • Vernacularism is the empowerment/radicalisation of cultures and communities through the recognition, retention, documentation and celebration of distinctive cultural products and values. • Vernacularism consciously asserts itself and stands against the colonising global forces of cultural appropriation and commodification. Globalism in its effects is the neofascism, in which capitalism is controlled not by the state but by international corporations. • Vernacularism is the new Utopianism. “The world is too dangerous for nothing less than Utopia.” Buckminster Fuller. • The vernacular evolves, recognising the evolutionary nature of culture. It is not static, insular, archaic or xenophobic; it knowingly and responsibly incorporates other cultural products to develop, enhance or contemporise its own culture or community. • Vernacularism ensures a culture or community remains strong, united/cohesive and meaningful to its members. When the vernacular is stripped away the culture loses its reference points and is vulnerable to colonisation.
A VERNACULARIST GLOSSARY CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: The adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards and behaviour from one culture or subculture by another. It is generally applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate to the appropriating culture. It is a by-product of imperialism, capitalism, oppression or assimilation. Cultural appropriation treats all aspects of other cultures and communities as free for the taking.
CULTURAL COLONISATION: References two related practices: the extension of colonial power through cultural activities and institutions or the influence of one culture over another. The latter is most often understood as the cultural domination in the context of global capitalism, but may also refer to the “internal” repression of marginalised cultural groups within a state or territory or to individual cultural identities. The term is sometimes used synonymously with “cultural imperialism” and includes more particular forms of cultural domination, including media, educational, academic, intellectual, scientific, and linguistic colonialism. COMMODIFICATION: The transformation of goods and services, as well as ideas or other entities that normally may not be considered goods into a commodity. The dominant process underlying the transformation of life in all societies, since at least the midnineteenth century, is the conversion of things and activities into commodities, or commodification. In advanced capitalist countries this process is now 9
outstripping our political and social capacity to adjust to it. Any useful economic analysis needs to foreground this process. Mainstream economics does not do this. ‘Commodification: the essence of our time.’ Colin Leys and Barbara Harriss-White 2 April 2012 CORPORATE CAPITALISM: A capitalist marketplace characterised by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations. In the developed world, corporations dominate the marketplace, comprising 50% or more of all businesses. Corporations have limited liability and remain less regulated and accountable than sole proprietorships. Corporations have unconscionable power over government policy, failing to act in the interests of the people, and their existence circumvents the principles of democracy. Adapted from Wikipedia CULTURAL PRODUCTS: The tangible or intangible creations of a particular culture. They reflect a culture’s perspective or view of the world. Tangible products: paintings, a cathedral, a piece of literature, moko, weaponry Intangible products: an oral tale, a dance, a sacred ritual, a system of education, a law etc. GLOBALISATION: The process by which the world is becoming one economic entity. It is a process characterised by interconnected modes of production and exchange, transnational flows of labour and capital, and a predominantly capitalist world system.
GLOBALISM: The projection by one dominant nation of their political influence on the entire world. HEGEMONY: The processes by which a dominant culture maintains its dominant position: for example, the use of institutions to formalise power; the employment of a bureaucracy to make power seem abstract (and, therefore, not attached to any one individual); the inculcation of the populace in the ideals of the hegemonic group through education, advertising, publication, etc. and in extreme conditions the mobilisation of a police force as well as military personnel to subdue opposition.
These terms and concepts are fundamental to Vernacularism. Some have multiple meanings, lack clear definition or are not well understood. They are defined here according to use in the Vernacular Manifesto, in order to ensure mutual understanding.
MANIFESTO: A published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. As with the Vernacularist Manifesto, a manifesto promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. SYMBOL: A symbol is an object that represents, stands for, or suggests an idea, visual image, belief, action, or material entity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, or visual images and are used to convey ideas and beliefs. For example, the bargeboards of a Maori storehouse depict a number of men hauling a whale ashore. (A detailed exposition on Maori symbolism can be found on http://www. teara.govt.nz/en/1966/maori-art/page-6) - Linda Blincko 10
THE PORN PROJECT: A radical experiment with/in the vernacular?
Held August 8th to 18th in spaces on and around Karangahape Road in Auckland, the ten day included a large and charged opening party at Method & Manners, three very different exhibitions – Mi Casa, Implicit: Explicit, and Corner Window Gallery, a GenderSmash street action and breast-feeding sip-in, open-days at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, a wild and thoughtful poetry night at Alleluya, a gentle florescent ‘cleaning up’ of the city, some perfectly banal sex education in Myers Park, a performance evening of subversive Exhibitionists, and talks and panel discussions involving librarians through porn stars. All of which directly engaged over 600 bodies – although the curly (and digital) tendrils of kōrero reached far beyond this number. We tentatively used the word ‘co-curator’ to describe my role; something that I humbly approached in terms of kaitiākitanga: I wanted to create and protect a space of discomfort, imagination and connection. This was because I also approached my task in terms of activism; The Porn Project was (is) a project to make the status quo of porn visible, not okay and not the way it has to be. Taking fuel and flight from the more institutionally-driven porn exhibition at the Gus Fisher – ‘A Different View: Artists Address Pornography’, ours was a grassroots response to the haunting tendency for discussion on porn to be poured into flatout ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ positions; spun as oppositional and antagonistic to one another, shutting down conversation between the two, a conversation we believe could prove 11
Images this page and page 11 appear courtesy of the photographer Peter Jennings and The Porn Project curators Rachel Liebert and Amelia Hitchcock
The Porn Project was a fringe art campaign to get people talking about porn.
fertile for a more radical porn culture. Radical as in not conservative (a.k.a. something that conserves our hetero/ patriarchal and white supremist status quo), but rather something that both celebrates diverse desires, bodies and sexualities and refuses misogyny, hetero/ sexism and racism. As per, it is in the space-in-between binaries that lies revolutionary possibility.
was the radical inclusion and positioning ourselves as not ‘pro’ nor ‘anti’… Even though it was bizarrely eclectic at times, I found… points of resonance in our shows and performances”. And it is these “points of resonance” that we might follow in the name of social change. As affective collisions in the common sense of porn, they seem to me to offer a potential that pulls us forward.
Our kaupapa, then, was (is) in terms In a way, then, The Porn Project was of difference and disagreement being an experiment with/in the vernacular: generative. Dependent on diversity and it was certainly contingent and unique public-ness, we stuck strong to values and (i.e., not intended as a generalizable politics of participation and decided early think-net for creative activism but on to support people’s decidedly particular), “The Porn Project it was an attempt to costs if needed and accept all submissions. was (is) a project to do contemporary porn This required working culture outside of prehard to distribute the make the status quo given norms (including project brief far and wide, of porn visible, not the norms of ‘radical’) being vigilant about the it was welcoming of okay and not the and workings of power and both content and form way it has to be” that can otherwise be serious consideration of how to shape the segregated, marginalised, interpretive landscape of the campaign trivialised. through its imagery, a blog, a zine, Facebook events and a wide range of In fact, I wonder if The Porn Project was media. not dependent on its vernacular-ity; an Intentional Space (as Amelia would say) All of which was messy, urgent, to free our imaginations. uncomfortable and incomplete. - Rachel Liebert None of which – in the name of dialogue and emergence – is an inherently bad thing. The Porn Project involved committing to a collaborative process of reflexive, creative trial & error; a radical experimentation that beckons ‘the beyond’, what we do not know, to emerge. As another co-curator, Amelia Hitchcock, recently wrote, “In hindsight, I think the real strength in what we did
Stone, art and architecture As a city built largely on a field of volcanoes, the oldest dating back some 20 million years¹, Auckland has a relatively brief history of building in stone.
gained a number of its distinctive (surviving) stone buildings² including Kinder House, The former ‘Deanery’ at 17 St Stephens Ave (1857/58) the Melanesian Mission (1859) lower Selwyn Court and the Stonemasons house, 27 Falcon St. Parnell (1863) - all built by master mason Benjamin Strange (1803 1882).
Prior to the arrival of the European settlers Maori had used stone for storage and preparation of food, tools and tool making, walls, paths, terraces and fortifications (amongst numerous A Berkshire man, Strange often worked other things). There are still large stone for architect Frederick Thatcher who terraces and retaining walls visible on designed numerous buildings for Bishop nearby Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier Selwyn’s Anglican ministry in Auckland Island) some over 200 ft. (Thatcher also worked as “New Zealand Governor Grey’s assistant long. It seems likely stone walls being known between the years 1846 - 48 also provided shelter from again in 1864-68). as ‘the shaky and the elements, if timber and Thatcher would join the clergy, isles’” fibre were not in abundance becoming a priest in 1853 locally. though he was still active in Following the initial forays architecture and designed of whalers, adventurers and missionary’s St Mary’s, Parnell (1860) and St Pauls, in the early 1800s, boats of various Wellington (1866).³ nations began to arrive in Aotearoa and It is worth noting that the survival of the Tamaki harbour, soon disgorging these stone buildings has much to do passengers along with other ballast. (The with the influence and landholdings of ballast could be anything from pig iron to the Anglican Church in the Parnell area. machinery parts and stone.) Similar stone buildings of the era are Amongst these early arrivals to the new dotted across various suburbs of the city, country were a variety of trades and but not in the density of Parnell. guilds including artists, architects and stonemasons, mostly from the British Other than those like Strange who were Isles. Of the new arrivals, some groups aligned to a ‘prosperous’ client, it seems of Scottish settlers headed to the South that many of the stonemasons were Island, particularly Dunedin, while that forced to adopt other work in the building most English of cities, Christchurch drew trades to make a living, New Zealand a percentage of the “English” settlers and being known as ‘the shaky isles’ and still Auckland, a contingent from Ireland - largely covered in forest. Additionally, which would see the beginnings of the the growing popularity of concrete city’s first Freemason’s lodge (Ara Lodge, construction (usually reinforced or block) 1842) from the late 1800s on, effectively ended It was also during this time that Auckland most major building work in stone. 13
Above: Hammond, R. B. Orakei garden suburb. Wellington, N.Z. : Dept. of Lands and Survey., 1927 Alexander Turnbull Library MapColl 832. 129gmbd 1925 47624 14
Stone, art and architecture - continued The exceptions to this were some of the more prestigious buildings in Auckland such as the Town Hall (construction: 1909 - 1911) and Central Post Office (construction: 1909 - 1912) which were still inlaid or faced with stone or marble. Stone landscaping, for retaining walls, sea walls, bridge facings, terraces, etc., of which there is remarkably impressive amounts across Auckland, became the major sources of work for masons, in addition to monumental and feature work on the newer homes and buildings of the city’s wealthier families, such as the Winstones, Bonds, Meyers, Kerridges, etc.
William Morris & Co. The period also saw the opening of the ‘Female School of Design’ (Somerset House: 1843), The South Kensington Exhibition of 1862, following on from the establishment of the South Kensington Museum of 1857 (soon to become ‘the Victoria & Albert Museum’). Education was the purpose of ‘the Museum’⁴ under Richard Cole’s tenure, and artists, designers and students of the generation such as Christopher Dresser and Gertrude Jeykell would become highly influential over the next half century - their writings and work aligning with the pre-modernist architects and craftbased guilds which were developing in basalt (or other parts of Europe. These would later be manifested through the “new modern Deutscher Werkbund (1907) which would then give rise to ideas of the Bauhaus after WW1(1919).
Much of this high quality sometimes “bluestone”) is said to have come from the JJ Craig quarry (later Winstone’s quarry) dug into ‘material a massive lava flow from the Mt Wellington volcano, Such ideologies would also truth’” while many of the smaller find an early foothold (1902 volcanic cones (Mt Cambria, - 1908) on the Clifton Hill, Devonport; Little Rangitoto, Remuera, Sumner, behind Christchurch. Here etc.) were quarried out, the rock most architect Samuel Hurst Seager (later to often crushed before being turned into design the garden suburb of Durie Hill⁵ material for roading. in Whanaganui; 1920) built eight small Mt Eden Prison (initial construction,1872- wooden houses which encapsulated his 1917) was built by prison labour from high vision of an architecture that grew both quality local Mt Eden (Maungawhau) from the imported pioneer tradition basalt and quarrying continued on the and new modern ideas of ‘material mountain with the Winstone company truth’ including built in furniture, plain running three quarries until the 1940s. timber plank walls and showers rather than baths.⁶ This was also the era when the Garden City concept was born in England (1898) Seager’s houses on ‘the Spur’ would by (later Sir) Ebenezer Howard, which in pre-empt the New Zealand infatuation turn begat the popular ‘garden suburb with the Californian Bungalow by a few planning’ ideology. The mid to late 1800s short years... had seen the ‘Arts and Craft’ and ‘Home To be continued… Art Movement’ flourish, promoted by the writings of John Ruskin and the works of - Gregory J. Smith 15
Above: Kinder House, Gregory J. Smith, digital photograph, 2013.
References: (1) “Volcanoes of Auckland: the essential guide” by Hayward, Murdoch, Maitland; published by Auckland University Press. 2011. (2) A number of early stone buildings were constructed in Tamaki, designed by Sampson Kempthorne for Bishop Selwyn but these didn’t survive. ‘Bishop’s Auckland’ text by R.M. Ross for - “Historic Buildings of New Zealand North Island” published by Cassell Limited (1979) for the ‘Historic Places Trust. (3) M H Alington” Thatcher, Frederick” Te Ara - Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 1966. (4) “The South Kensington Museum in context: an alternative history.” Bruce Robertson, University of California, 2004. (web < www2.le.ac.uk/departments/ museumstudies/ >) - “Gertrude Jekell” by Sally Festing (published by Viking: 1991) (5) -footnote: Reginald Hammond’s design for “Orakei” won a Department of Lands and Survey competition (1925) - he later became Director of Housing Construction) (6) “At Home” - by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins (2004) ‘Godwit Publishing’. pg. 6-7 ‘This New Zealand thing’.
Sort Of Vernacular List With Diversions Axe Spade Saw Fred Dagg Braunias Joe Bennet Barry Crump Janet Frame Shortland Street Nothing Lasts Best Bets Billy T James Republic Otara Markets Cripple Handy Andy Weet Bix John A Lee Kim Hill Sack Bush Hut Howard Morrison Kowhai Martin Henderson Team NZ Decent Joker Hotere All Blacks Bugger Off Kauri Ponga Keruru Hunt Hillary Outrageous Fortune Fatu Pule Motorway Southern Alps Blue Smoke Country Calendar Tui Moa Black Bird Thrush Fomison John Minto Down Stage Rust Timber Crown Lynn Waitomo Golden Guitars Erosion Owen Marshalll Moffitt Tapper India Logging Truck Jerusalem Air New Zealand Tiki Frizzell Elsie Locke Vietnam Mercury Theatre Hammer Coconut Banana Feminism Blerta Happen Inn Manhire Beehive Bloody Idiiots Great Britain Dawn Raids Shell Fish Helen Fencing Post Sam Hunt Colquhoun Rotorua Revitalisation Of Language Tuatara Morepork Cotton Wollaston Sue Bradford Blood Knight Turner Clothesline Under Pants Kiri Nuclear Free Lilburn Protest Viscoe Concrete Mixer Mountain Treaty Manukau Four by Two Ballad Smither Sydney Binney Top Twins Hammond Pallet Massey Ferguson Beech Saw Dust River Workers Irish Wild Iron Vietnam Dibble 17
Good Bye Pork Pie Fairburn Estuary Revitalisation Of Language Useless Prick I Am Recycling Rubbish Gravel Loyal Lemons Russell Clark Morris Minor Bedford Railways Leather Annie Whittle Singer Up Rising Stone Nails Paddock Fertiliser Tent Cook Strait Rita Angus Crying Out Loud Rifle Peace Confiscation Baton Beneficiary Welfare Watershed Smack Hack Bash Justice Union Ian Mune Pumpkin Waterfall Colloquial Gorse Pacific Swedes Churches Minority Drugs Muti Nationals Swear Cresent Skull Socket Moon Piano Rimu Strangers And Journeys Goal Post Lichen Share Prices Wool Rata Google Muldoon Daisy Mc Cahon Te Kooti Robin White Green Peace Aniseed Balls Hanly Kelvinator Roger Hall America Apricots K Road Knitting Pond Eyley Brickell No Tour Songs From the Inside Card Board Don Selwyn Chinese Miners Dalmatian Dutch Imports Sausages Merton Morrison Balmoral Shops Sky Tower Rugby Oil Wellington Gay Pride Leadbetter Conscientious Objector Red Socks Rakiura Came A Hot Friday Prison Parihaka Flax Security Kim Dot Com Wharfies Gloss Davin Norman Kirk Compost Terrorism Manuka Town And Around Slang End Of The Golden Weather Rainbow Warrior Kiwiana Mana Janice Gill Stainless Steel Carbon Fibre Greed Milk Asia Elizabeth Hawthorne Made In China X Factor Mega Store Potatoes Dominion Road Drag Enough Rope To Hang Yourself Sleeping Dogs Unrecognised Motor Camp Bloody Marvellous Kiwi Dream Arthur
Alan Thomas Tidy Up Wine Box Gob Stoppers Ray Columbus Environment No 8 Heartland Ellis Muka You Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Stop Progress Silicon Auckland
- Images and text Nigel Brown 18
Above: Spilt Milk, Mia Hamilton’s selected work for the Portage Ceramic Awards 2013
Success: What is it in the Ceramics Art world? I regularly ask myself what success will look like. How will I know when I am a successful New Zealand Ceramic Artist? Please do not tell me that it is measured by earnings, because we all know that I am therefore unlikely to witness this success in my lifetime. So I search for other measures to grade my “life’s work”. Honesty is where I find myself. Joy and honesty, passion and satisfaction: these are the measures by which I appraise my own works. I have a strong belief in my work. I am passionate about its’ ability to encapsulate emotion when I am honest. Let me describe my version of honesty. It is when I put my heart and soul into the clay. It is when I am in tune with the piece I am making. It is when I allow my true self to be revealed in the work. It is the words I write in that bowl on the day when I wonder if the dark cloud that surrounds me will ever lift. It is the joy and the hope I feel on other days when I realise that this is my life and “Honesty is it is a wonderful opportunity that I owe myself to make the most of. In my it is this honesty that art viewers and buyers respond to. The where I find experience works that I have bared my soul the most in are those that the public are myself” drawn to. 19
The measures by which I grade my work often ignore the traditional approach to assessing the quality of a 'pot' in potting circles within NZ. The perfect application of glaze or the absolutely perfect symmetrical throwing of a pot can often leave it slightly sterile in my eyes. Such perfect potting can often leave these pots teetering on the cliff edge of 'manufactured' rather than 'made'. Now I can hear some of you screaming at me that this is just an excuse for poor workmanship on my part. Incompetence, Peter Lange called it in a recent article in Ceramics Quarterly. I have a feeling Mr Lange would include me in his “new wave of irreligious ceramic artists from the ad hoc school of ceramics, which opts for creative expression over technique”¹. I do not throw pots, I occasionally apply glaze with a brush and no doubt my work is sometimes over or under fired. All of these make me technically undisciplined and downright ignorant in Mr Lange’s eyes. I have one simple response to all of this incompetence on my part and it is best summed up by sharing with “I have a strong you a snippet I recorded on belief in my work. my phone and have looked at I am passionate” many times since. Earlier this year I attended the funeral of one of New Zealand’s most loved potters, Mirek Smisek. One of his former students read out a note that Mirek had left on her work space many, many years earlier: “The vitality of a pot can often be lost in the search for accuracy”. Enough said. In an article on the front page of todays’ Dominion Post, Eleanor Catton, still in shock at having won the Man Booker Prize, stated: “I am a tiny wee bit worried and don’t know how all this will solidify in my mind in the days to come. At the moment, I am very conscious of the fact struggle is very important to art”². Interesting; maybe it is better for my art if I am not financially successful? Will my work remain honest and interesting if I do not win any major art prizes or sell for vast sums? In the meantime I will continue to make ceramic works because they mean something to me and avoid the trap of just making to sell. I will continue to live in my one hundred year old house with holes in the bathroom floor and drive my twelve year old car. I will offer my pots for sale to pay the mortgage I had to take out to buy my own kiln and the shed to put it in. But most of all I will continue to offer my heart and soul in clay to the art loving public. References: (1) Charm and Incompetence , Peter Lange, Ceramics Quarterly, NZ Potters, September 2013 (2) Dominion Post, 17 October 2013
- Mia Hamilton 20
Benjamin Explores Kula Benjamin explores kula (red) and `uli (black), these colours have been entertained in Tongan thinking and practice, like the Pacific/Moana cultural concepts and practiced for many centuries. This significance for Tongans has carried also into the modern age with the pacific diaspora. The use of these colours continue to be wide spread within the different communities including, Christian practices, sports teams, also gang affiliation with our youth.
Above: Pala Tavake flag, Benjamin Work, spraypaint and acrylic. Painted in Glen Innes 2013. Overleaf: Mata Lupe (dove motif, detail), Benjamin Work, spray paint and acrylic. Painted in Palmerston North, 2012.
Pacific Islandersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; motivations for migration are diverse, but the desire to retain ties to their homeland and kin has long been a feature of their mobility and a crucial aspect of their identity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This notion of identity and alliance towards a motif, a flag or even a colour fascinates me, communicating this using these ancient motifs and colours have resulted in some positive and negative feedback from various communitiesâ&#x20AC;?.
- Benjamin Work 22
Only Those Who Belong Know Who They Are
You need to know who you are before you can grow to maturity. When you love your place, your culture, and your community, every day is filled with delight and discovery. People live to the full because their world is alive. This familiar growing, changing world invites us to look ever more closely, and become lost in the wonder of it all. Every spring is different. We watch life pulse through the vegetation we have come to know so well as though we had never seen it before. As understanding grows we come to know how much we do not understand. Those who belong are both humble and proud. Humble to be part of a much greater reality, but also proud to have the honour of carrying forward a way of life, and a way of seeing the world. The stories a grandmother tells become your own. In retelling them to your children you find new insights and subtle nuances, which at first had not seemed obvious. Those who do not belong wander through a cultural wasteland, always the voyeur of other places, other times â&#x20AC;&#x153;our built and other cultures, restlessly seeking for what they have environment left behind. Lonely and alone. Always searching but never also needs to satisfied. Always striving, but never fulfilled. Looking at make belonging life, perhaps even passionate about it, but never fully alive. Belonging does not come easily. Falling in love is a first big possibleâ&#x20AC;? step, but love needs to be nurtured. Beyond the individual, 25
Left: Black-Eyed Suzy (Detail), Terese Storey, collaged drawing from Artist Residency, Les Olives Spain, 2008. Collection of Tony Watkins, Auckland, New Zealand. © Terese Storey.
cultures need to belong in place, and our Placelessness is the curse of our time. built environment also needs to make Respect and integrity should be the belonging possible. foundations for our built environment. Integrity and interconnectedness can Planning needs to begin with, for too often be ideals rather than givens. example, recognising that volcanoes are Sometimes tough decisions sacred. Anyone who does not need to be made. Vernacular “Vernacular is accept this needs to go and live is neither nostalgic nor somewhere other than Auckland. neither romantic. You cannot destroy your place nostalgic or and then hope to belong. New Zealanders live in a romantic” wonderful land that evolved Culture is normally passed over millions of years before we arrived down through stories. Those stories on the scene. With no mammal predators include the marks we make on the our birds could happily forget about land. Heritage is not here and there. flying, and could conveniently nest on Heritage is everywhere. It is everything the ground. that has been passed down to us. Life is not perfect. We need to talk of tragedy, To belong in this unique world we might agony and loss, just as we need to talk need, for example, to forget about having of heroism, joy and triumph. Belonging a cat. A cat is not a choice. Our choice has is not selective. been to live in this astonishing natural world. If we cannot manage without a Traditions grow and change, but first cat we need to move to a place where they need to be nurtured. A youngster cats belong. Happiness is loving the birds learns about boats by working alongside which cats kill, along with skinks and the old salt who knows it all. When the tuatara, one of the most ancient fossils Council cleans up hauling-out yards the on earth. resulting void is a death knell.
“Traditions grow and change, but first they need to be nurtured”
Embracing the land is an essential move. Reading and studying is not enough. You need to get into your gumboots and head for the hills. Listen to the bellbirds, live off the land. Be wet and cold. Involvement is the foundation for initiation. Vernacular is the long embrace. How then can we belong if the cities we live in do not belong?
Truth is critical for belonging. The Wynyard Quarter, for example, is a lie. An artificial environment for synthetic people who do not belong. Bread and circuses so that no one will need to think, or even worse, challenge the establishment. The fishing fleet belonged before the planners destroyed it. With a thousand such cuts planners have reduced a real city to tokenism.
Only Those Who Belong Know Who They Are - continued Vernacular means local. Diversity and complexity are enriched by difference. We know who we are because we are not like others. Our culture is not like their culture. Our built environment belongs in a unique way to our place. Our natural environment is so special that we know exactly where we are, without the need for any â&#x20AC;&#x153;brandâ&#x20AC;? or signpost. Strangers wander our land seeking to rape and pillage for profit and greed. Strangers do not know the meaning of respect. We, in contrast, have mana because we know who we are, but our vernacular will not survive unless we are strong and make the tough decisions. Kia kaha. - Tony Watkins
Left: The Things We Hug Up To, Margaret Lawlor Bartlett, collage and line drawing, 1984. Collection of Tony Watkins, Auckland New Zealand.
NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013
In honouring Nelson Mandela, one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest leaders and advocates for peace and equality The Vernacularist reflects upon the capacity of a small country to support and facilitate political and social change of a major scale. The liberator of an oppressed people and the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was heartened, humbled and filled with hope by the active, impassioned and prolonged stand taken against apartheid by New Zealanders during 1981 Springbok Tour. At the time he and fellow political activists were imprisoned on Robben Island. During his visit to NZ in 1995, Mandela described the feeling of hearing about the protests, that forced the Waikato-Springbok game to be called off, as being ``as if the sun came out''. "South Africans have at last won the right to determine their own destiny. Together we have fought the good fight and won in the streets, in the negotiations, and in the elections." In her address to the United Nations General Assembly on Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July 2012 Helen Clark commented that we in New Zealand learned a lot about ourselves during the Springbok Tour protests; they were â&#x20AC;&#x153;a clear example of how the battle against injustice in one country can spur progress in another. The 1980s saw the search for truth and reconciliation in New Zealand itself gain momentum, leading to major settlements between the state and indigenous people which continue to this day, in acknowledgment of the historical injustices perpetrated from colonial times.â&#x20AC;? (UNDP, 2012) - Linda Blincko Below: Nelson Mandela meeting anti-apartheid activist John Minto during a visit to New Zealand, 1995.
Sort Of Vernacular List Reconsidered Beer DDT 1080 Turps Boss Condition Self Belief Good Old Days Cigarettes Perfume Grass Progress Moaners Totara Clean Truth Eric Lee Johnson Fish And Chips Sentimentality Bullshit Michael Hight Fleur Fahey Irish Richard Nunns Silver Beet Improved Scenic Track Formica Linen Say Cheese Taranaki Gate Scab Gains School Journal Dogs Sheep Freezing Works Lies Curnow Mason Swept Away Betrayed Ans Westra Geoff Murphy Masport Unemployed Sustainable Balogy Weekly Gravel Black And White TV Rape Crisis Man Alone State House Wool Greenstone Passion Fruit No 2 What A Game Radiation Reed Siddell Dairy Boom Shed Water Tank Drain
Murder House Wet Land Michael Shepherd Macrocarpa Baxter Four Square Loss Shovel Forest and Bird Katherine Lange Rotting Fading Forgetting Digtal Examine And Discuss Genetic Illingworth Half Remembered Plunket Kodak Chooks Argue Retain Landfall Lange Catch Of The Day Morning Talk Hopeless Organic Memory Twiss Beyer In Fill Housing Roses Ruahine Debate Green Peace Mirror Mc Whannel Mt Eden Poverty Rich Get Richer Marmite Irrelevant Spy Buchanan Palmer Pearson Too Bad Whale Rider Scones At The End Of The Day Redundant Sold Off
So What Leo Narbey 1951 Shona Laing Bucket Bert Munro Harris Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Go On And on Alan Bollinger Lyn Of Tawa Weeds Mary Mc Intyre Bell bird Have A Heart Garage Sale Toilet Paper bro Town Hydrangeas Moments Of Invention Local Narrow Minded Stuck In Your Ways Theo Schoon Sutton Lewer Youth Suicide Dettol Prunes You Are A Loser Connected Nolan Boyd Kelly Identity Crisis Improve Re Place Closed Down Oturehua Aboriginal Muru Community Work Black Singlet Northland East Coast West Coast Graham Hone Maggots Bones Earth Boots John Campbell Trussell Pacific Islands Apse
Prams Lambs Mistakes Peter MacIntyre TV 7 Paua Kevin Ireland John Scott Parsons Book Shop ,Tea Towel ,Identity, Maori TV , Documentary Chapple Dean Parker Vocal Minority Frying Pan Barry Lett Soup Taihape Hanly Back country Dunedin Gone Christchurch Sure To Rise Parsons Books Moa Potton Marae Macrocarpa Long Drop Finance Company Real Estate Beech Self Awareness ,Critical Faculty Pride In Belonging Openess Tea Tough Globe Pine Taiapa Jeff Thompson Whiting Temuka Bach Wharenui Pipi Whale Taylor Webb Seyb Summer Matariki Pounamu Acrylic Chisel Canvas Sargeson Earle Erewhon Patu lusk Spencer Bower Patu Aberhart The Group Robley Utu Engaged With This Place The Circumstances OF Living Here School Journal Illustrious Energy The Garden Party Gee Piano Sam Fracking World Market Soft Crane Demolition Hawk Alzheimers - Nigel Brown
Left: North Beach Sawmill Karamea, Nigel Brown, acrylic on canvas, 1999
The Multi Tasker
My earliest memories as a toddler during World War II, are those of a happy loving mother, fun, laughter and security. The most significant memory however was having no male role models for the first 6 years of my life, as all the men in my community were enlisted in the New Zealand forces, many being based overseas. I took it for granted that my mother and other women in the community were as capable of achieving all things equal to that of any man. I couldn’t understand why these women who carried out the role of mother and father thought men were so special. To me my loving mother was special.
Wellington. We relocated from the North Shore of Auckland to Wellington, leaving behind a life of relaxed beachside urban living in a warm climate, full of fun friends and women. We became residents in a small village of 50 families, in a harsh rural environment by the rugged Wellington coastline, knowing no one, having no friends, knowing what it meant to be ‘chilled to the bone’ and most significantly for the first time in my young life, living with a strict father.
My world changed even further when my mother’s role was no longer that of being mother/father figure but became “To me my one of being a Not only was she my mother loving mother fulltime worker, and father but also she was special” as the local supported the war by doing primary school outwork from home. Each headmistress week a pile of army trouser fronts and and sole charge associated pockets were delivered, and each teacher, my night she contentedly sewed away at her teacher, old Singer treadle sewing machine. A week later a new pile replaced this pile and off she went again. My mother was a true stoic multi-tasker who along with other women accepted and adjusted to an unknown war culture. As a post war 6 year old I experienced my first major cultural change. At this time my father resigned from the New Zealand Air Force and with government assistance set up his own business in
and importantly, the only working mother in our village. At this time in the 1940’s and early 50’s, I could never understand how my mother could be such a gregarious and
outstanding, professional multi-tasking woman during the week day and yet at the end of the day, when my father came home, she seemed to become a devoted subservient wife, apparently typical of the culture of women of that time. When I challenged my mother about this, she pointed out to me with a resigned expression on her pretty face that societal standards of that particular time expected a woman to ‘love, honour and obey’ and at all times be supportive beliefs) to survive. They used these skills of one’s husband. I found this confusing to assist in establishing a new colony as and thought this rule was wrong, equality well as carrying out the multi-tasking yes, but not subserviency. I was too young roles of being a housewife, mother and a to realise that I actually disagreed with community person and most significantly the inequality of women. At that time I often labouring side by side with the men. realised that although my mother I recognised a link between the “equality needed to support my father challenges of pioneering yes, but not cultural in setting up a new life for us women and my mother. all, working also gave her the subserviency” freedom and independence that The worth of women and their she had known during the war and had ability to stand equal to men is a belief I previously thrived on. Through my eyes my have held from a very early age and it has mother became a professional woman in a stayed with me throughout my life. Now man’s world at a time when women stayed as a mature woman and artist I turn to the at home as house wives, mothers, and same life skills used by my mother, and honourable community ladies and yet the pioneering women, to honour and keep during the war, she had taken on alive the worth of women. the role of a father or male figure in an enforced - Marie E. Potter woman’s world. As I grew older my mother who personally believed in the worth of women, explained to me, that the British colonial women came to New Zealand knowing no one, to a new culture, and relying on their ‘life skills’ (resourcefulness, determination, tenacity, innovation, improvisation, standing up for their own
Image above: Marie’s mother - Marie Doherty at Ohiro Bay Primary School. Centre image: The Multi-tasker, Marie E. Potter, 200 H x 120 W x 80 D mm, bronze, 2013. Images far right: Marie’s parents - John and Marie Doherty prior to moving to Wellington 1949.
(The Multi-tasker was recently part of The FEMAIL PROJECT (Birmingham University United Kingdom), a global feminist exhibition consisting of a collage of over a hundred and twenty A4 images from feminist artists from a hundred countries. The exhibition format was conducted by email and curated by Emma Leppington. 32
This page above: Yonel with his work 3 Totem Blacks, 96.5 x 193cm, oilstick, krink marker, posca marker and primer on wood, 2013.
Above left: Totem Father (detail), primer, chrome spraypaint, krink marker and acrylic on canvas, 2012. Above right: Haji Totem, primer and marker on paper, 2013.
Totems I started painting around the age of 16. My earlier work was abstract with more modern references. No composition, just madness. The Depot Artspace helped me find direction. 8 years later and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m focusing on practical growth. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m currently working on my Totems in Sydney. - Yonel Watene
This page above left: Eiffel Totem (detail), 52 x 142cm, krink marker, posca marker and vivid marker on wood, 2013. This page above right: Deep Circle Totem, primer and marker on paper, 2013.
Buggery Corld Wup Balls ups, balls-up, Yet another one by Auckland’s City planners. Big chiefs of Tāmaki Makaurau, land of a hundred lovers, haters & strong emotions, have given us a massive but handsome carbuncle right in the middle – of suburbia. 60,000 seats is 120,000 legs, 1000 buses, 200 trains, 30,000 cars A jewel in the fumes and frustrations of Struggle Street, Villamore and Lynglen Valiantly, did I try to put it beside the harbor among umpteen shipping containers, Fergusson, Freyberg or Bledisloe. Trams, trains, busses, cars & bikes and the ferries too, quick and easy access for 120,000 legs. But who listens – in this place of such utter confusion, like my hākari on Queens Wharf, Instead – a long slumpy thing of neither meaning or form. Oh yes, sitting there In their glassy tall towers, Oh no – why do I waste my hours? Gucci, fucci, zuit & tie, Will I have – another try?
- Barry Brickell
Above: Untitled, Guy Collier, pencil and ink on paper, 2013 36
All the News Fit to Draw
Above: Detail from All the News Fit to Draw, John Coley, March 4, 2013. Caption reads “Strong men of Mitimiti carry great and honoured artist Ralph Hotere back to his home marae where a commitment ceremony is held at the catholic church before his whanau bear him to his final resting place in the hillside cemetery. On Hotere’s last journey, he was accompanied by his daughter Andrea Hotere-Naish and her children. March 4, 2013” 37
Once an enthusiastic book-binder, I had made a large sketchbook with the idea of taking it out in the field and filling it with pencil and watercolour motifs I came across. The book proved too big and difficult to handle out of doors so for some years it was not used. When my vision began to fail I had filled a sketchbook (Parade) with small drawing made each day in the belief that if my vision continued to fail, the sketches would show the effect of this decline. At the beginning of 2011 I began to make sketches of people in situations which disclosed their roles, skills, achievements, interests, images of events and varieties of dress and uniform drawn directly from newspaper photographs. As over almost three years the book filled it became a modest record of a great variety of human activity from the murderous to the joyful. The sketches are made quickly and directly in ink without preliminary pencil indications, from images cut from the daily newspaper. All honor to the photographers who captured the moments and the people. The choices are all mine.
All the News Fit to Draw was exhibited at Depot Artspace in accompaniment to John Coley: Collages 2013 in late October.
- John Coley 38
INCUBATION IN ISOLATION:
How distance creates the difference in New Zealand product design (excerpt - parts one and two of seven) Isolation informs design process in New Zealand. Models from the indigenous Maori culture are explored along with the outdoor lifestyle, a record of building on overseas concepts, a capacity for cross-disciplinary teamwork, clarity and a freshness born of detachment, and a desire for a small, distant country to be noticed. Research undertaken for the author’s recent book (Smythe 2011) set out to identify drivers of New Zealand product design in relevant contextual circumstances. This paper extracts key findings with greater clarity and applies more academic rigour. 1. Isolation nation Isolation has always been, and remains, a significant point of difference in the development of product design in New Zealand — “the last country in the world to be discovered settled by humankind” (King 2003: back cover). New Zealand’s isolation was starkly illustrated by an image in a 2002 government Growth and Innovation Framework document. It showed a 2,200-km radius centred on Wellington capturing only 3.8 million New Zealanders while the same area centred on Helsinki encompassed 300 million people in 39 countries. Left: Figure 1. Comparing two countries with similar sized populations — Finland and New Zealand. (2002.)
2. Maori modelling Although radiocarbon dating suggests New Zealand’s first settlers arrived around 1250, some Maori oral histories place the first migrations at 800 CE. Either way the initial settlement was followed by a long period of uninterrupted development in isolation that allowed a unique design language to evolve. Maori design deserves to be reclaimed from those who have labelled it ‘art’ — it represents the objects, apparel, environments and visual communications required 39
for daily existence. When the British Museum exhibited Maori ‘art’ from its collection in 1998, Julian Harding wrote: There is no Maori word for ‘art’. Whakairo, perhaps the closest equivalent, has a basic meaning of design, or as a transitive verb, to ornament with a pattern. The traditional tohunga (expert) in wood carving, weaving, painting, or tattoo did not set out to create a work of art in the European sense. In making a flute or hei-tiki or canoe, he simply provided the means by which the gods expressed themselves inmaterial form. (Harding 1998). Contemporary New Zealand organisations interested in the triple bottomline of economic, social and environmental sustainability might find value in traditional Maori values. The forces that shape the Maori world are: Mana atua, the sacred power of the gods; Mana whenua, the power inherent in the land to allow all things to grow and develop; Mana tupuna, the power of wisdom handed down through the ancestors and the responsibilities of leadership, and Mana tangata, the power of people to develop skills and gain knowledge. (Marae Melbourne.) Above right: Basalt toki (axe) found at Makakihi, South Canterbury — possibly among the oldest mademade artefacts made in New Zealand. It is claimed to be from the early Kai Tahu (Waitaha) Nga Kakano period, 900–1200. (Mead 1984.) (Otago Museum collection, photo: Athol McCredie.). Left: Hinaki (eel/ tuna/lamprey traps) fabricated from mangemange, a climbing fern — cleverly designed to lure eels in but prevent them swimming out. (Auckland Museum collection 23518.)
The Maori leadership model supports leading edge twentyfirst century ‘design thinking’ positioning design as a central concern of the boardroom and executive suite rather than a back room function. Ngati Awa chief Himiona Tikitu’s documentation of the many roles of the tohunga (skilled person) included leadership in the making of artefacts and structures vital to the needs of the community. Te Arawa chief Wi Maihi Te Rangikaheke explained that the tohunga was expected, above all, to be accomplished in creative expression which might be expressed in oratory, composing and/or singing waiata [song], wielding the taiaha [long wooden ceremonial weapon], or designing and making meaningful objects. (Mead 1986: 190-191.) 40
INCUBATION IN ISOLATION - continued Today’s Western management style favours an ‘if we can’t measure it we can’t manage it’ approach. Maori creative practice offers the incalculable value of ihi, wehi and wana — aspects of which can be compared to charisma, emotional attraction, ‘X-factor’, ‘je ne sais quoi’ and/or the ‘tingle up the spine’. Ihi (power/magnetism) describes a special vitality present in all life, a human quality which includes personality as well as psychological and spiritual attributes. Wehi (fear/awe) is the impact that this power or influence has on other people, and within ourselves, catching us by surprise when the experience exceeds our expectations. Wana (thrill/pride) is the physical sensation at the impact of ihi and wehi, the energy rush or thrill resulting from being in the presence of something that moves us. (Kruger 1984: 228-236.) Left: Kaitaka (flax cloak with border) — honouring the skill of the maker, the mana (prestige) of the intended wearer and the importance of the occasions at which it will be worn. (Auckland Museum collection ETH815, photo: Krzysztof Pfeiffer.)
The measurement of quantitative consistency is the paradoxical purpose of Total Quality Management. New Zealand designers seeking validation for a more evaluative approach might find more inspiration from the Maori model which appears to honour each person in the valuechain — from designer to maker to trader to user — than they could from Japanese versions of the methods that American statistician Edwards Deming introduced in the 1950s. References: HARDING, J. 1998. Maori Art at the British Museum, www.tribalarts.com/feature/maori/index. html (last accessed 16/04/2011) KING, M. 2003. The Penguin History of New Zealand. Auckland: Penguin Books (NZ). KRUGER, T. 1984. The Qualities of Ihi, Wehi and Wana in Mead H. M, Nga Tikanga Tuku Iho a te Māori, Customary Concepts of the Māori (Wellington, Victoria University of Wellington). MARAE MELBOURNE. www.maraemelbourne.net/nanny.html (last accessed 06/05/2012). MEAD, H. M. 1984. Te Maori: Maori Art from New Zealand Collections. Auckland: Heinemann. MEAD, H. M. 1986. Te Toi Whakairo / The Art of Mari Carving. Auckland: Reed Books.
- Michael Smythe 41
Above: Caution, Optimism on Hold, John Coutts, 740 W x 1000 H mm, mixed media, 2013
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nothing that is being built is visable. Huge constructions are being erected but in the clouds - non touchable.â&#x20AC;? - John Coutts 42
About the Contributors: Linda Blincko studied her BA and MA in Sociology, Philosophy and Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland. Linda now works at Depot Artspace initiating projects based on identified needs within the arts community, working alongside arts project initiators, and supporting projects to become sustainable. Barry Brickell is the owner, developer, conservationist, engineer and artist behind Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. Driving Creek is home to New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway, along with a working pottery, wildlife sanctuary and art gallery. He is a keen writer and an active vernacularist. Nigel Brown was born in 1949 in Invercargill and spent his childhood on orchards in Tauranga. From 1968 to 1971 he worked towards his Bachelor of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Colin McCahon and Robert Ellis amongst others. In the 1990s he set up a woodcutprinting studio with Susan McLaughlin, his partner. In 2001 he shifted to Cosy Nook, past Riverton in Southland, where he currently resides. Nigel is a prolific and iconic New Zealand artist whose accomplishments are many. He is represented in many public collections in New Zealand, in private collections worldwide and there have been three touring exhibitions of his work. John Coley was born in Palmerston North and attended the Canterbury University School of Fine arts. He is a retired art educator, journalist, art gallery director (the Robert McDogall Art Gallery, Christchurch) and remains a practicing artist since 1956. At 78 years, his collection of 36 collage works was shown at the Depot Artspace in October, 2013. Guy Collier is an artist and illustrator with a background in social anthropology. He has been engaged in a number of community art projects in Auckland where he completed his MA and was selected as a finalist for the Waikato Society of Arts ‘National Youth Art Awards’ for 2013. Both creatively and socially, skateboarding has been a formative aspect of his life for fifteen years. John Coutts was born in Auckland and then travelled to London where he worked in a production research department. Back in New Zealand, he worked for several companies, always in a design and development role. During this time he has maintained his interest in contemporary art both in New Zealand and overseas. Over the last ten years he has used his inventive skills to create his own abstract and conceptual artworks, ranging across the mediums of painting, sculpture and construction. Tim D. is an Auckland based artist. When we asked him for a bio to include in this publication, he simply wrote back “Meat is Murder”. Erin Forsyth is a believer in creative thought and creative application. Erin’s practice is founded in a range of creative disciplines including illustration, moving image, curation, exhibition coordination, studio management, independent publication and project development. Erin and her candidly dark illustrations have featured in local and international 43
publications such as King Brown, Remix, Catalog, Lurve, Pulp, Yen and Black magazines. Erin is currently the managing director of Method and Manners studios and gallery (est. 2009) and editor of The Vernacularist. Mia Hamilton is a full-time artist having graduated with a Diploma of Art & Creativity from The Learning Connexion, Wellington, in 2008. Mia also has a Diploma of Interior Design from the Academy of Fine Arts, London, and a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University, Palmerston North. Mia was both a Portage Ceramic Awards finalist in 2013 and 2011 and a Waiclay Ceramic Awards finalist in 2011. At the New Zealand Art Show in 2011 she had a sellout show, selling over thirty ceramic pieces in three days. Also in 2011, Mia was Potter in Residence at Wellington Potters Association in Thorndon. She has had 8 solo ceramic exhibitions around NZ since 2008. Peter Jennings NZ: Image junkie photographer and boot resistor of Irish roots. If I had a wish it would be to be invisible with a camera to capture the beauty including the ugly beauty of life. I would love to live in a world that had no censorship and no secrets. (More images of The Porn Project pages XXXXX can be found on Flickr) Lia Kent Mackillop is an Auckland based photographer, sculptor and BFA Hons graduate from the Elam School of Fine Arts. She is currently the Media and Promotions Coordinator at the Depot Artspace where she looks after promotional material online and in print and works with Creative Director, Linda Blincko, on various projects. Brendan Kitto grew up in Wellington, Wanganui and Auckland, moving to the latter at the age of twelve. The move to Auckland introduced Brendan to various subcultures that he would later photograph. After seeing the cult graffiti documentary Style Wars and book Subway Art, he realised the significance of capturing detail of movement. Participation in the graffiti and skate culture of the 90s and 2000s informed his developing interest in image capture and his photographic style. Brendanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photography has allowed him to travel between Pakuranga, Miami and Detroit. Rachel Liebert Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, Rachel Jane Liebert is currently a PhD candidate and Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York. She draws on critical race, feminist and security studies to examine practices and politics of arousal and surveillance, and to co-organize a number of creative activist projects that protest the privatization and policing of our bodies and psyches including, most recently, The Porn Project. Marie E. Potter is an award winning multi-disciplinary artist who has been committed to the N.Z. visual arts for over twenty five years. She was a part time faculty member of Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design from 1987-2001. She returned to W.C.A.D. in 2010 to achieve a Master of Fine Arts degree. In 2014 Marie will carry out a short term invited artist residency in the Wairarapa, re-evaluating N.Z. cultural and social traditions and artifacts loaded with history.. 44
Gregory J Smith misspent his early years painting and working in film and television. He has exhibited with the New Zealand Crafts Council and Designers Institute and also Artiture Tokyo and Kyoto. In 1992 Greg opened Indiecator Furniture & Design Gallery on Vivian St in Wellington. He has been developing the Lost Property website and accompanying exhibitions since 2009 which involves ongoing research into and curation of social and built history… Michael Smythe drew upon his experience as an industrial design practitioner, Master of Design Management graduate and part-time lecturer in Design History to write NEW ZEALAND BY DESIGN: a history of New Zealand product design (Godwit: 2011) which won Best First Book of Non-Fiction at the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards. His second book GIFFORD JACKSON: New Zealand Industrial Design Pathfinder was at an exhibition of the same name at The Depot Artspace in 2013. He also curated the KIWI NUGGETS installation at The Depot Outerspace within THE SUM OF THE PARTS – The Cultural Mapping Project exhibition in 2012. Terese Storey is a Visual Artist and Arts Educator from Northland, New Zealand, currently based in Indonesia. The aesthetic stimulus she encounters while living in different parts of the world always seems to tangle its way into her collaged drawings, which she thinks of as ‘visual blog entries’. Recent explorations are Batik pattern and Wayung painting. Denys Trussell is a poet, biographer, musician and ecologist. His poetry, essays and criticism have been published in New Zealand, Australia, Britain, France and America. He won the 1985 PEN Best First Book Award for non-fiction with Fairburn, about the life of poet ARD Fairburn. His poetry collection, Walking into the Millennium, was shortlisted in the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Yonel Watene, of Maori descent, b. 1989 Auckland, New Zealand. Currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Won: Iti Wai Wai Young Emerging Maori Artist of the Year Award, 2006 (New Zealand Arthouse Foundation) and Prentice Award, 2006 (Takapuna Grammar School). Lost: Many times. Yonel began his totem pole series when he moved to Australia in 2012. His Totem Poles are contemporary Maori works influenced by modern day life. Weapon of choice: Marker. Tony Watkins is a vernacular architect, vernacular urban designer, and owner-builder. For more than twenty years he lectured in ‘Vernacular Architecture’ at the University of Auckland. In a survey his students voted this as their favourite course. His books include ‘The Human House’ and ‘Thinking it through’. Benjamin Work is a South Auckland-based visual artist of Tongan heritage with a strong foundation in aerosol painting and graffiti. He has worked on diverse projects including large scale public mural commissions, exhibiting work locally and internationally in group shows Tijuana Mexico 2007, Art Basel Miami 2010, and Sydney Australia 2011. Recently his practice has expanded to include photography and performance. Work travels to Tonga frequently and is an active member of the Auckland-based Tongan art collective, No’o Fakataha and Auckland art collective TMD. 45
If you wish to submit a query or article please email erin.forsyth@depotartspace. co.nz Only submit material you have copyright ownership of. If you are sending imagery please ensure images are 300 DPI and include the title, dimensions, medium and the date they were created.
Above: Fame Game II (detail), Brendan Kitto, 35mm photograph, Mangere Bridge (buffed), 2013
â&#x20AC;&#x153;The direction you head, at least onceâ&#x20AC;? - Brendan Kitto 46