Precarious Nature

An exhibition that responds to and interrogates how humans are affecting an increasingly fragile global ecosystem. 

Key local and international artists of different generations are brought together in this exhibition which engages with the precarity of our relationship with the natural world. Their work tackles issues such as the decline of the honeybee, deforestation, air pollution, and consumerism. The gallery also offers a space for research and connection, where local and national not-for-profit groups share information and inspiring solutions for our ever-changing planet.

We are now living in what some call ‘the Anthropocene’ - the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Our globalised, carbon producing, consumer driven economies and massive population increase in the past 200 years have pushed global ecologies to a tipping point. Our situation is precarious. The ecosystems which we rely upon and the environment in which we as a species evolved within is changing, fast. 

The beauty and wonder of nature have provided inspiration for artists for centuries. Since the 1960s, the increasing degradation of the natural world and the effects of climate change have brought a new urgency to their responses. This exhibition offers a cross section of differing environmentally engaged contemporary art practices. By situating them alongside activist and community groups who are working to combat the issues raised through the artworks, CoCA seeks to offer new perspectives and tangible opportunities for participating in positive change. 

So why Precarious Nature, in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, Aotearoa, 2016? 

As a nation, we are overwhelmingly steeped in ‘Green Myth’; we are inundated with picturesque vistas and 100% Pure branding, and through their constant repetition, have come to believe the landscapes depicted to be static, somehow immune to the effects of modern society and climate change. These landscape images have become synonymous with our national identity; thus stimulating discourse around climate change and environmental issues can be perceived as an attack on our identity - it often meets strong resistance and denial.

Ōtautahi Christchurch is in the process of rebuilding and finds itself with the unexpected potential to consider new city building strategies that support more environmentally sustainable practices. We believe a dynamic art exhibition offers a potent opportunity to invigorate discussion, by engaging with environmental issues in creative and thoughtful ways.

Precarious Nature is carefully considered to create an exhibition and discussion space which is both provocative and hard hitting. Yet it also offers hope, with a strong focus on local and national issues. Local groups offer information and genuine opportunities for community engagement; Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has provided relevant soundtracks from their archives. The exhibition is accompanied by a dynamic series of public events, talks and screenings.

CoCA is utilising this exhibition to become a sustainable business by 2018 through carbon offsetting, assisting with a healthy ecosystem and honey bee production.  

This exhibition is supported by Creative New Zealand. 

The Artists

  • Alex Monteith
    Alex Monteith
    New Zealand

    Alex Monteith, (born 1977) Belfast, Ireland, lives and works Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Alex's works often explore the political dimensions of culture engaged in turmoil over land ownership, history and occupation. Her work traverses political movements, contemporary sports, culture and social activities, and often take place in large-scale or extreme geographies.

    Alex  is a senior lecturer at the Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland, Aotearoa. She is also a member of the collective Local Time (Alex Monteith, Danny Butt, Jon Bywater, Natalie Robertson), and is a some-time political and environmental activist.

    Her exhibitions include Surface Movements Te Piha, Te Uru Waitakere, 2016, Exercise Blackbird Alex Monteith at the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, 2012, the survey exhibition Accelerated Geographies Alex Monteith Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2010,  the 4th, 2010 and 5th Auckland Triennials, 2013,  Sydney Contemporary, 2015 & 2014 and in Rencontres Internationales, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2007 & 2011. She was a recipient of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award, 2008, a Walter’s Prize finalist, 2010.

     

    Alex Monteith
  • Anne Noble
    Anne Noble
    New Zealand

    Anne Noble’s work engages with contemporary environmental issues and our relationship to land and place. She produces books and installations that incorporate both still and moving image. The recipient of a laureate award in 2009 for her contribution to the visual arts in New Zealand, Anne Noble is Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University and one of New Zealand’s most respected contemporary artists.

    Her recent projects are concerned with creating affective poetic responses to contemporary environmental issues, and new kinds of public dialogue between artists, scientists, activists and teachers within broader community contexts. Most recently she has incorporated a live working colony of bees within a photographic artwork, and is collaborating with scientists, teachers and educational researchers to create learning initiatives with bees to promote ecological understanding.

    Anne’s recent exhibition projects include Abeille/Abbaye, 2016, Song Sting Swarm, 2016,  Whiteout Whitenoise, 2016, Nature Study, 2015, and No Vertical Song, 2014. Recent books include Ice Blink, 2011, The Last Road, 2014, and Whiteout Whitenoise (forthcoming). Her work was the subject of a major national retrospective that toured New Zealand 2001 – 2003. 

     

  • Dryden Goodwin
    Dryden Goodwin
    United Kingdom

    Dryden Goodwin (born in 1971, Bournemouth) based in London, is a British artist known for hisintricate drawings, often in combination with photography and live action video. He creates films, gallery installations, projects in public space, etchings, works on-line and soundtracks. His practice also reflects on the ethical dimensions of looking at the world and beyond. He is fascinated by the boundaries between anonymity and intimacy, public and private, singular worlds and group dynamics. 

    Dryden's work has been shown extensively in the UK and internationally, including exhibitions at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, The Photographers' Gallery, London, The National Portrait Gallery, London, the Venice Biennale and the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenberg, Sweden. His work in collections includes, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tate Collection, The National Portrait Gallery, London and The Science Museum, London. Festival screenings of his first feature length film ‘Unseen: The Lives of Looking’, have included, a nomination in the international competition of the DOX:AWARD at CPH:DOX 2015, Copenhagen, 2015, andselection at The International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2016 and a nomination for best cinematographer of a Documentary Feature Film at Camerimage, Poland 2016. Dryden teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art.

    Dryden Goodwin
  • Gaby Montejo
    Gaby Montejo
    New Zealand

    Gaby Montejo approaches art through photo, music, interviews, and temporary installation often with performative actions.  Gaby’s work explores democracy and hierarchy in a way where the finished work is often consumed or destroyed during the process of making. Whilst exhibiting internationally, Gaby stays pivotal in the social initiatives and collaborative interventions of Christchurch and is a key member of the collective The Social. Born to Cuban parents, Gaby attended art school in Australia and America and moved to Christchurch in 2006.

    Exhibitions and works include The Pie Shop Surveillance Project for Open Workshop, XCHC, 2016;  National Contemporary Art Awards, Waikato Museum, Hamilton, 2015; Pay for the Printer, Triple Major, Shanghai, 2015; Milk Fight, 100 Peterborough Street, Christchurch, 2014; OPP, Chambers, Christchurch, 2013; Bring A Plate, Performance Arcade, Wellington, 2013; Goat in a Bikini, None Gallery, Dunedin, 2012;  The Art of Photography, San Diego Art Institute, California, 2012; New Zealand Sculpture OnShore, Auckland, 2012;  Shared Lines, Sendai Mediatheque, Japan, 2012;  Poltergeist, White Elephant Arts, Melbourne, 2011; and ...Nah It's Only Gaby, ABC, Christchurch, 2011.

     

  • Hayden Fowler
    Hayden Fowler
    NZ/Australia

    Hayden Fowler is a New Zealand born artist, based in Sydney, Australia. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New South Wales Art & Design in Sydney, as well as an earlier degree in Biology. His work explores humanity’s relationship with the natural world and the broader historical and cultural concepts that influence this engagement. Hayden is known for his technically complex productions which involve long periods of research, the construction of elaborate sets and specialised training for a range of domestic animals, including goats, lambs and rats. Recurring themes within his interdisciplinary practice are ideas surrounding desire, freedom, loss and ‘the romantic hope for a return to nature’. Major recent commissions include Dark Ecology at the MCA, Sydney.

    Fowler has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is held in a number of public and private collections. He is a previous recipient of the Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, undertaking his year of study abroad at the Universitat der Kunst in Berlin, Germany.

    He lectures in Fine Arts (studio) at the University of New South Wales Art & Design and at the University of Wollongong.

     

    Hayden Fowler
  • Liv Worsnop
    Liv Worsnop
    New Zealand

    Liv Worsnop graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts with a BFA in 2012, majoring in Sculpture and she has thus pursued a cross disciplinary practice. Through the moving, shifting and manipulation of found detritus Liv investigates the way we as energetic beings exist within the physical world. This work has culminated in various exhibitions including The Periphery State held at the Physics Room in 2014.

    Another thread of her practice has operated under the title Plant Gang and has looked to natures reaction within the post quake Christchurch landscape. Projects have included a catalogue of wild plants growing in the central city, a zen garden constructed of materials found on site and various guerrilla gardens. Through the invitation to the general public to be involved, this ongoing project has traversed environmental and social based relationships and reactions to postquake Christchurch.

    Liv Worsnop
  • Melissa Macleod
    Melissa Macleod
    New Zealand

    Melissa Macleod (born 1973) lives in New Brighton, Christchurch, and is an interdisciplinary artist working across sculpture and performance. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from Ilam School of Fine Art in 2016.  Her recent work examines issues surrounding the Eastern Christchurch community where she lives, and the psychological impact of impending waters.

    She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions within New Zealand, and also Japan while fulfilling a Creative New Zealand Emergent Artists’ Grant. In 2015 Melissa completed the solo show Ark at the SOFA gallery, and was the recipient of the Sir Robertson Stewart Scholarship, and a University of Canterbury Masters Scholarship. She has also worked in various arts fields and education roles.

     

  • Natalie Robertson
    Natalie Robertson
    New Zealand

    Natalie Roberston is of Ngati Porou and Clan Donnachaidh descent. Born in Kawerau, New Zealand, she is an is an established photographic and moving image artist.

    Her practice engages with indigenous relationships to land and place, exploring Māori knowledge practices, environmental issues and cultural landscapes. She writes on photography in Te Ao Māori. Much of Natalie’s practice is based in Te Tai Rawhiti, the East Cape region of her tribal homelands. She is also Senior Lecturer at AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.

    Natalie has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and internationally (including China, USA, England, France, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Lithuania, Denmark, Brazil, Rarotonga, Australia).  Robertson is also a founding member of the Auckland-based collective Local Time, (formed in 2007) which facilitates site-specific projects that speak to local and indigenous contexts.

     

    Natalie Robertson
  • Precarious Nature - Extended Network
    Precarious Nature - Extended Network
    New Zealand

    During Precarious Nature, CoCA has been lucky to work with numerous not-for-profits, NGOs and other organisations who are doing amazing work to redress the balance of our situation. From lobby and protest groups, to those restoring our natural environment locally, each has a part to play in creating a sustainable future. Many of these groups have a presence in CoCA’s groundfloor gallery, or are running workshops and events during the exhibition.

    Click the links below to find out more about each group, and visit their websites for more information on the amazing work they do.

    350.org

    Avon-Otakaro Network

    Eco Justice

    Forest & Bird

    Generation Zero

    Greenpeace

    Habitat for Humanity

    Oil Free Otautahi

    Polluted Inheritance

    Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust

    Trees for Canterbury

    Working Waters Trust

    Polluted Inheritance Eco Justice Trees for Canterbury Forest and Bird Generation Zero Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust 350.org
  • Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller
    Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller
    Bougainville/Aus

    Taloi Havini is of the Nakas clan, Hakö People. She was born in 1981 Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville and emigrated to Australia in 1990. She lives and works in Melbourne, Sydney and Buka. As an interdisciplinary artist, her practice centres on the deconstruction of the politics of location, and the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. In her research, Taloi engages with living cultural practitioners and Oceanian material collections and archives. She often responds to these experiences and sites of investigation with experimental ceramic installations, print, photographic and video, making both solo and collaborative works. She is actively involved in cultural heritage projects, exhibitions, research and community development in Melanesia and Australia. 

    Taloi’s work is held in public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, and ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the Canberra School of Art at the Australian National University. Taloi has lived and exhibited in Bougainville, Canberra, Sydney, Yogyakarta and Melbourne.

     

    Stuart Miller (b.1983) is a Sydney-based artist. Stuart completed a Bachelor of Design (Photography) in 2004 in his hometown, Canberra and has since, worked as an artist and photographer.

    Creating a synergy between concept, composition and evocative lighting is the hallmark of Stuart’s work.

    Working beyond the factual medium of photography, Stuart uses his interest in surrealism to transform and change his more literal scenes. Be it still life or portraiture, he uses these elements to comment on who in this world has privilege, who holds power and who does not.

    Stuart’s images are held in institutions and collections both locally and internationally, including National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) & Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

    Taloi Havini
  • Tim Knowles
    Tim Knowles
    United Kingdom

    Artist Tim Knowles lives and works between London & Bristol, his work is exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. Drawing sits at the centre of Tim’s work; drawing as a trace of a movement an action, a path taken by an individual guided by a set of rules, smoke directed by the wind, a pen held in a mechanism acted upon by external forces. Chance is crucial to the work, which is generated by apparatus, mechanisms, systems and processes beyond the artist’s control.  Akin to scientific experimentation a situation is engineered in which the outcome is unpredictable, directed by the external forces.

    These operations or performances seek to reveal the invisible forces in the world around us and investigate the nature of hidden systems.  Whether it is the artist himself walking for days guided solely by the wind mapping his route to reveal the winds path through a specific landscape, the movements of a parcel through the postal system, or the intricate movement of a hundred weeping willow branches each with a pen attached to it’s tip, drawing as it is blown by the wind. 

    Tim’s Recent Projects include Dispersal Zone, a large scale temporary public work for Nuit Blanche 2015 commissioned by Toronto City and Force-Fire, a project commissioned by Timespan as the opening event for the 2015 Helmsdale Highland Games.

    Tim is currently working on a major solo exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery, Somerset in July 2017.  Watershed+ a City of Calgary commission which will develop through a series of residencies in Calgary in 2016 and 2017. 

    His work was recently also included in the following exhibitions:  TERRAIN: Land into Art, 2016 Hestercombe Gallery, UK;  Lines of Tangency, 2015 MSK Ghent, Netherlands, The pen moves across the earth.... 2015 Blackwood Gallery, Canada;  Second Autumn, 2015 Art Stations, Poznan, Poland; the National touring exhibition; Walk On - From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff - 40 years of Art Walking, 2015; and Drawing Making: Making Drawing, 2015 Drawing Room, London. 

    In 2013 he was commissioned by City of Sydney to produce a new public work and Mass Windwalk - a large participatory event, he also participated in Mildura Palimpsest Biennale 2013, Australia.  

    www.timknowles.com
  • Tyne Gordon
    Tyne Gordon
    New Zealand

    Tyne Gordon (born 1988) is a Christchurch based artist who graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts in 2015, where she studied her BFA and Honours in painting.

    Tyne recently travelled to Iceland after receiving the Ethel Jones Travelling Scholarship where she investigated the liminal state between the wild and the domestic. Her work concentrates on the fusion of opposites; through colour, texture, scale and sound.

    Recent exhibitions include Outlook, NEXT Gallery, Christchurch, Croon, 30 Upstairs Wellington, AMAZONS; Expeditionary Force, Group Show, {Suite}, Wellington, Faux Fair, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne and a group pop up show at Julia Morrisons Studio.

    Scholarships/Awards include: Ethel Susan Jones Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship 2016, Parkin Prize Finalist 2015 and 2016, Sawtell-Turner Prize in Painting 2015, Bickerton-Widdowson Scholarship 2014 & 2015, Grant Lingard Scholarship 2014

    Tyne Gordon
  • Zina Swanson
    Zina Swanson
    New Zealand

    Zina Swanson (born 1981) is based in Christchurch and investigates the relationship between nature and culture. Her works are both disquieting and enchanting. Swanson teases out abstract ideas in drawings and sculpture. In her recent work she explores rituals, superstitions, and the relationship between people and plants. There is a measured yet organic approach to her works - an unsettling balance between the natural and man-made.  

    She was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in 2013 and in 2014 visited New York as an apexart inbound fellow.

Alex Monteith
New Zealand

Alex Monteith, (born 1977) Belfast, Ireland, lives and works Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Alex's works often explore the political dimensions of culture engaged in turmoil over land ownership, history and occupation. Her work traverses political movements, contemporary sports, culture and social activities, and often take place in large-scale or extreme geographies.

Alex  is a senior lecturer at the Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland, Aotearoa. She is also a member of the collective Local Time (Alex Monteith, Danny Butt, Jon Bywater, Natalie Robertson), and is a some-time political and environmental activist.

Her exhibitions include Surface Movements Te Piha, Te Uru Waitakere, 2016, Exercise Blackbird Alex Monteith at the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, 2012, the survey exhibition Accelerated Geographies Alex Monteith Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2010,  the 4th, 2010 and 5th Auckland Triennials, 2013,  Sydney Contemporary, 2015 & 2014 and in Rencontres Internationales, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2007 & 2011. She was a recipient of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award, 2008, a Walter’s Prize finalist, 2010.

 

View artwork
Anne Noble
New Zealand

Anne Noble’s work engages with contemporary environmental issues and our relationship to land and place. She produces books and installations that incorporate both still and moving image. The recipient of a laureate award in 2009 for her contribution to the visual arts in New Zealand, Anne Noble is Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University and one of New Zealand’s most respected contemporary artists.

Her recent projects are concerned with creating affective poetic responses to contemporary environmental issues, and new kinds of public dialogue between artists, scientists, activists and teachers within broader community contexts. Most recently she has incorporated a live working colony of bees within a photographic artwork, and is collaborating with scientists, teachers and educational researchers to create learning initiatives with bees to promote ecological understanding.

Anne’s recent exhibition projects include Abeille/Abbaye, 2016, Song Sting Swarm, 2016,  Whiteout Whitenoise, 2016, Nature Study, 2015, and No Vertical Song, 2014. Recent books include Ice Blink, 2011, The Last Road, 2014, and Whiteout Whitenoise (forthcoming). Her work was the subject of a major national retrospective that toured New Zealand 2001 – 2003. 

 

View artwork
Dryden Goodwin
United Kingdom

Dryden Goodwin (born in 1971, Bournemouth) based in London, is a British artist known for hisintricate drawings, often in combination with photography and live action video. He creates films, gallery installations, projects in public space, etchings, works on-line and soundtracks. His practice also reflects on the ethical dimensions of looking at the world and beyond. He is fascinated by the boundaries between anonymity and intimacy, public and private, singular worlds and group dynamics. 

Dryden's work has been shown extensively in the UK and internationally, including exhibitions at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, The Photographers' Gallery, London, The National Portrait Gallery, London, the Venice Biennale and the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenberg, Sweden. His work in collections includes, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tate Collection, The National Portrait Gallery, London and The Science Museum, London. Festival screenings of his first feature length film ‘Unseen: The Lives of Looking’, have included, a nomination in the international competition of the DOX:AWARD at CPH:DOX 2015, Copenhagen, 2015, andselection at The International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2016 and a nomination for best cinematographer of a Documentary Feature Film at Camerimage, Poland 2016. Dryden teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art.

View artwork
Gaby Montejo
New Zealand

Gaby Montejo approaches art through photo, music, interviews, and temporary installation often with performative actions.  Gaby’s work explores democracy and hierarchy in a way where the finished work is often consumed or destroyed during the process of making. Whilst exhibiting internationally, Gaby stays pivotal in the social initiatives and collaborative interventions of Christchurch and is a key member of the collective The Social. Born to Cuban parents, Gaby attended art school in Australia and America and moved to Christchurch in 2006.

Exhibitions and works include The Pie Shop Surveillance Project for Open Workshop, XCHC, 2016;  National Contemporary Art Awards, Waikato Museum, Hamilton, 2015; Pay for the Printer, Triple Major, Shanghai, 2015; Milk Fight, 100 Peterborough Street, Christchurch, 2014; OPP, Chambers, Christchurch, 2013; Bring A Plate, Performance Arcade, Wellington, 2013; Goat in a Bikini, None Gallery, Dunedin, 2012;  The Art of Photography, San Diego Art Institute, California, 2012; New Zealand Sculpture OnShore, Auckland, 2012;  Shared Lines, Sendai Mediatheque, Japan, 2012;  Poltergeist, White Elephant Arts, Melbourne, 2011; and ...Nah It's Only Gaby, ABC, Christchurch, 2011.

 

View artwork
Hayden Fowler
NZ/Australia

Hayden Fowler is a New Zealand born artist, based in Sydney, Australia. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New South Wales Art & Design in Sydney, as well as an earlier degree in Biology. His work explores humanity’s relationship with the natural world and the broader historical and cultural concepts that influence this engagement. Hayden is known for his technically complex productions which involve long periods of research, the construction of elaborate sets and specialised training for a range of domestic animals, including goats, lambs and rats. Recurring themes within his interdisciplinary practice are ideas surrounding desire, freedom, loss and ‘the romantic hope for a return to nature’. Major recent commissions include Dark Ecology at the MCA, Sydney.

Fowler has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is held in a number of public and private collections. He is a previous recipient of the Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, undertaking his year of study abroad at the Universitat der Kunst in Berlin, Germany.

He lectures in Fine Arts (studio) at the University of New South Wales Art & Design and at the University of Wollongong.

 

View artwork
Liv Worsnop
New Zealand

Liv Worsnop graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts with a BFA in 2012, majoring in Sculpture and she has thus pursued a cross disciplinary practice. Through the moving, shifting and manipulation of found detritus Liv investigates the way we as energetic beings exist within the physical world. This work has culminated in various exhibitions including The Periphery State held at the Physics Room in 2014.

Another thread of her practice has operated under the title Plant Gang and has looked to natures reaction within the post quake Christchurch landscape. Projects have included a catalogue of wild plants growing in the central city, a zen garden constructed of materials found on site and various guerrilla gardens. Through the invitation to the general public to be involved, this ongoing project has traversed environmental and social based relationships and reactions to postquake Christchurch.

View artwork
Melissa Macleod
New Zealand

Melissa Macleod (born 1973) lives in New Brighton, Christchurch, and is an interdisciplinary artist working across sculpture and performance. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from Ilam School of Fine Art in 2016.  Her recent work examines issues surrounding the Eastern Christchurch community where she lives, and the psychological impact of impending waters.

She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions within New Zealand, and also Japan while fulfilling a Creative New Zealand Emergent Artists’ Grant. In 2015 Melissa completed the solo show Ark at the SOFA gallery, and was the recipient of the Sir Robertson Stewart Scholarship, and a University of Canterbury Masters Scholarship. She has also worked in various arts fields and education roles.

 

View artwork
Natalie Robertson
New Zealand

Natalie Roberston is of Ngati Porou and Clan Donnachaidh descent. Born in Kawerau, New Zealand, she is an is an established photographic and moving image artist.

Her practice engages with indigenous relationships to land and place, exploring Māori knowledge practices, environmental issues and cultural landscapes. She writes on photography in Te Ao Māori. Much of Natalie’s practice is based in Te Tai Rawhiti, the East Cape region of her tribal homelands. She is also Senior Lecturer at AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Natalie has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and internationally (including China, USA, England, France, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Lithuania, Denmark, Brazil, Rarotonga, Australia).  Robertson is also a founding member of the Auckland-based collective Local Time, (formed in 2007) which facilitates site-specific projects that speak to local and indigenous contexts.

 

View artwork
Precarious Nature - Extended Network
New Zealand

During Precarious Nature, CoCA has been lucky to work with numerous not-for-profits, NGOs and other organisations who are doing amazing work to redress the balance of our situation. From lobby and protest groups, to those restoring our natural environment locally, each has a part to play in creating a sustainable future. Many of these groups have a presence in CoCA’s groundfloor gallery, or are running workshops and events during the exhibition.

Click the links below to find out more about each group, and visit their websites for more information on the amazing work they do.

350.org

Avon-Otakaro Network

Eco Justice

Forest & Bird

Generation Zero

Greenpeace

Habitat for Humanity

Oil Free Otautahi

Polluted Inheritance

Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust

Trees for Canterbury

Working Waters Trust

View artwork
Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller
Bougainville/Aus

Taloi Havini is of the Nakas clan, Hakö People. She was born in 1981 Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville and emigrated to Australia in 1990. She lives and works in Melbourne, Sydney and Buka. As an interdisciplinary artist, her practice centres on the deconstruction of the politics of location, and the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. In her research, Taloi engages with living cultural practitioners and Oceanian material collections and archives. She often responds to these experiences and sites of investigation with experimental ceramic installations, print, photographic and video, making both solo and collaborative works. She is actively involved in cultural heritage projects, exhibitions, research and community development in Melanesia and Australia. 

Taloi’s work is held in public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, and ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the Canberra School of Art at the Australian National University. Taloi has lived and exhibited in Bougainville, Canberra, Sydney, Yogyakarta and Melbourne.

 

Stuart Miller (b.1983) is a Sydney-based artist. Stuart completed a Bachelor of Design (Photography) in 2004 in his hometown, Canberra and has since, worked as an artist and photographer.

Creating a synergy between concept, composition and evocative lighting is the hallmark of Stuart’s work.

Working beyond the factual medium of photography, Stuart uses his interest in surrealism to transform and change his more literal scenes. Be it still life or portraiture, he uses these elements to comment on who in this world has privilege, who holds power and who does not.

Stuart’s images are held in institutions and collections both locally and internationally, including National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) & Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

View artwork
Tim Knowles
United Kingdom

Artist Tim Knowles lives and works between London & Bristol, his work is exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. Drawing sits at the centre of Tim’s work; drawing as a trace of a movement an action, a path taken by an individual guided by a set of rules, smoke directed by the wind, a pen held in a mechanism acted upon by external forces. Chance is crucial to the work, which is generated by apparatus, mechanisms, systems and processes beyond the artist’s control.  Akin to scientific experimentation a situation is engineered in which the outcome is unpredictable, directed by the external forces.

These operations or performances seek to reveal the invisible forces in the world around us and investigate the nature of hidden systems.  Whether it is the artist himself walking for days guided solely by the wind mapping his route to reveal the winds path through a specific landscape, the movements of a parcel through the postal system, or the intricate movement of a hundred weeping willow branches each with a pen attached to it’s tip, drawing as it is blown by the wind. 

Tim’s Recent Projects include Dispersal Zone, a large scale temporary public work for Nuit Blanche 2015 commissioned by Toronto City and Force-Fire, a project commissioned by Timespan as the opening event for the 2015 Helmsdale Highland Games.

Tim is currently working on a major solo exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery, Somerset in July 2017.  Watershed+ a City of Calgary commission which will develop through a series of residencies in Calgary in 2016 and 2017. 

His work was recently also included in the following exhibitions:  TERRAIN: Land into Art, 2016 Hestercombe Gallery, UK;  Lines of Tangency, 2015 MSK Ghent, Netherlands, The pen moves across the earth.... 2015 Blackwood Gallery, Canada;  Second Autumn, 2015 Art Stations, Poznan, Poland; the National touring exhibition; Walk On - From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff - 40 years of Art Walking, 2015; and Drawing Making: Making Drawing, 2015 Drawing Room, London. 

In 2013 he was commissioned by City of Sydney to produce a new public work and Mass Windwalk - a large participatory event, he also participated in Mildura Palimpsest Biennale 2013, Australia.  

View artwork
Tyne Gordon
New Zealand

Tyne Gordon (born 1988) is a Christchurch based artist who graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts in 2015, where she studied her BFA and Honours in painting.

Tyne recently travelled to Iceland after receiving the Ethel Jones Travelling Scholarship where she investigated the liminal state between the wild and the domestic. Her work concentrates on the fusion of opposites; through colour, texture, scale and sound.

Recent exhibitions include Outlook, NEXT Gallery, Christchurch, Croon, 30 Upstairs Wellington, AMAZONS; Expeditionary Force, Group Show, {Suite}, Wellington, Faux Fair, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne and a group pop up show at Julia Morrisons Studio.

Scholarships/Awards include: Ethel Susan Jones Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship 2016, Parkin Prize Finalist 2015 and 2016, Sawtell-Turner Prize in Painting 2015, Bickerton-Widdowson Scholarship 2014 & 2015, Grant Lingard Scholarship 2014

View artwork
Zina Swanson
New Zealand

Zina Swanson (born 1981) is based in Christchurch and investigates the relationship between nature and culture. Her works are both disquieting and enchanting. Swanson teases out abstract ideas in drawings and sculpture. In her recent work she explores rituals, superstitions, and the relationship between people and plants. There is a measured yet organic approach to her works - an unsettling balance between the natural and man-made.  

She was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in 2013 and in 2014 visited New York as an apexart inbound fellow.

View artwork
Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller, Blood Generation: Sami and the Panguna Mine, 2009

Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller, Blood Generation: Sami and the Panguna Mine, 2009

Blood Generation: Sami and the Panguna Mine, 2009, Taloi Havini and Stuart Miller
More about this artwork

Sami and the Panguna Mine, 2009
Triptych from the series Blood Generation


??
Courtesy of the artist

The Blood Generation are the children born into and following the civil war over land in Taloi Havini's native Bougainville. Buka youth are documented in their landscape, by Taloi and photographer Stuart Miller, including in the devastated area around the Panguna mine. The series depicts the ravages of open-cut mining, as well as the deep connection to land that Taloi and her people have; their cultural resilience in the face of colonisation and government-sanctioned, forced removal from their ancestral homelands.

In 1964, the Moroni people in Bougainville were subjected to harassment and exploitation and stripped of their land rights under Crown Law. Australian-owned mining company Conzinc Rio Tinto sent in geologists and, in 1972, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) was formed. Despite ongoing demonstrations by the Panguna landowners and Rorovana coastal people, from 1972 the open-pit, Panguna mine, was one of the largest producers of gold, silver and copper in the world — more than doubling the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Territory’s export income and helping to fund  PNG Independence, which was granted by the Australian colonial administration in 1975.

The mine ceased operations when civil war erupted in 1988, as the local resistance movement sabotaged the mine, its main water and electricity supply. The resulting civil war cost around twenty-thousand lives in an island population of approximately 200,000. Fighting did not end until a truce lifted the military blockade that led to the Bougainville peace process in 2000. Armed rebels currently prevent all foreign entry onto the mine site and access is restricted to locals only.

The triptych Sami and the Panguna Mine revisits the time when Sami’s aunties and other women landowners in Bougainville stood against mining on their land. Women leaders are still fighting to be heard on the unresolved issues of social, economic and environmental impacts of reopening the mine. They reject agreements which saddle them to the original PNG 1988 Mining Act, in which there is no acknowledgement of women landowners.


 


 

Gaby Montejo, Honeymoon Latte, 2016

Gaby Montejo, Honeymoon Latte, 2016

Honeymoon Latte, 2016, Gaby Montejo
More about this artwork

Honeymoon Latte - Installation
MilkSpa - Performances
Mixed media installation

In Honeymoon Latte, and the performance MilkSpa, Gaby Montejo invites participants to consider the underlying cost of their milky coffee; asking ““Is it worth it?”, “To what end?” and “For the benefit of whom?”

The dairy sector is a major player in our land of milk and honey, whether you’re speaking ecologically, economically or culturally. It’s a lot to think about. Agriculture has vastly changed the landscape of Aotearoa. The country has seen the loss of nearly 75 percent of its native forest since the arrival of humans on its shores, and has a paltry 10 percent of its original wetlands remaining; much of the land cleared and drained to make way for farming.

Dairying contributes hugely to our economy; we’re the largest exporter of dairy world wide and we export 95 percent of our produce. It’s cheaper to buy New Zealand butter in the UK than it is here. Meanwhile, our lowland rivers are mostly unswimmable, with nitrate run offs from intensive farming often cited as key culprits in their degradation.

During the opening and select dates during the exhibition, the Honeymoon Latte installation is activated, hosting discussion about this pervasive issue that has the potential to bankrupt the whole country. It is a vessel for casual conversation to occur; participants in bathing suits start on equal footing. Montejo has invited a cross section of people with different stakes in the industry - ecologists, farmers, lawmakers and chefs. At certain times, anyone who has an opinion on or stake in dairy can enter the pool and be heard. In the gallery’s bathrooms one will find swimwear and robes provided for the public to use. 

When the spa is closed, a projection shows a typical, idyllic scene of a dairy farm, sporadically interrupted by a commercial shoot of actors enjoying the spa. Montejo highlights milk’s luxury product status, satirising the dream lifestyle and prompting us to ask those difficult questions. With the fragility of our environment becoming evermore apparent, is the economic honeymoon nearly over?

Honeymoon Latte is a new commission for Precarious Nature. 

Curators’ note: We acknowledge that mana whenua, mata-a-waka and other cultures and individuals may find the use of milk in this manner problematic. We considered this when programming the work and, after seeking advice from various parties and rigorous discussion,  we have decided to go ahead with the work as we believe the message it conveys is worth the discomfort it may cause. We thank everyone for their understanding.

CoCa and Gaby Montejo would like to extend thanks to:


Steve Reekie and Nelson Byrd Woltz for image rights, Pep Merconchini for the soundtrack, Safety Sign Sales for Custom signage, Hirepool for the rental of a submersible pump, Dominion Flooring for the vinyl, Haka NZ for spare spa parts, and Crombie and Price for Soy Milk Powder


Listen to some of the MilkSpa discussions here


Photo by Janneth Gil

 



Dryden Goodwin, A still from Breathe, 2012, commissioned by Invisible Dust

Dryden Goodwin, A still from Breathe, 2012, commissioned by Invisible Dust

Breathe, 2012, Dryden Goodwin
More about this artwork

Breathe, 2012
Medium Pencil on paper, HD video
Courtesy of the artist and Invisible Dust.

Dryden Goodwin’s Breathe is an animation of over 1,300 pencil drawings of his five year old son, inhaling and exhaling. The boy progresses through fluctuating breathing patterns, at some moments regular, and at others more laboured as he stares out from the frame.

Air is an object that permeates the human body, carrying with it a plethora of natural, synthetic and sometimes harmful residues. The act of breathing is an elemental poetry; an exchange of floating particles and fibres, sustaining the human body and connecting us with the world around us. Breathe is an evocation of this poetry. Through emphasising the physicality of the act of breathing it the work draws attention to the vulnerability of children, whose developing respiratory systems are is most at risk from pollution, and who will live with the long term physical and environmental effects of our current lifestyles. 

Breathe was first shown in the UK in 2012 as a large scale, night time, video projection from the roof of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, opposite the Houses of Parliament to highlight poor air quality. London is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. 

This work has particular significance here in Ōtautahi Christchurch, as we have the worst air quality in New Zealand, with the majority of pollutants coming from domestic use of wood and coal burning for heating. Since the earthquakes, there has also been an increased risk, particularly for construction workers, from airborne dust containing compounds such as silica, asbestos and other toxic compounds. Official studies show that air pollution – mainly from traffic – causes more premature deaths than passive smoking and traffic accidents combined. Atmospheric pollution does not only affect humans, but the whole ecology on which we’re reliant; plants, animals and water quality are also impacted by airborne pollutants.

Breathe was commisiosned by Invisible Dust who work with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art and new scientific ideas exploring our environment and climate change.

Invisible Dust brought together artist Dryden Goodwin and eminent air pollution scientist Professor Frank Kelly (King’s College London), and was supported by the Wellcome Trust and Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust with King’s College London Biomedical Research Centre. 

More information about the project can be found at http://invisibledust.com/project/dryden-goodwin-kings-college-and-st-thomas-london/


 

Natalie Robertson, Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016

Natalie Robertson, Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016

Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016, Natalie Robertson
More about this artwork

Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016
Photography, Inkjet prints


Courtesy of the artist

Our mauri - life-force - is interconnected with the life-force of our waterways and our lands. They are barometers of our cultural health and wellbeing. Drawing on customary and contemporary stories of land and place, Natalie Robertson’s work examines paradoxes of economic development and environmental destruction.

Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016 is a new 12-metre photographic installation of Rangitukia beach, Te Tai Rawhiti, which examines the impact of deforestation on the land of her iwi, Ngati Porou. According to their tribal lore, mana whenua have occupied this region since Maui Tikitiki a Taranga fished up the island out of the sea. Natalie has long sustained her whakapapa relationship with the Waiapu River watershed and coastal foreshore, as a trustee of the land through her hapū, Te Whanau a Pokai. In the wake of the 2012 Ngati Porou Treaty Settlement, the scars of colonialism are still experienced, written in the land. 

Aotearoa’s young, geologically volatile landscape is naturally in constant flux. However, the greatest change to the ecology of this region has predominantly taken place since 19th Century British colonial settlement. 150 years of cutting down native trees and burning large sections of forest to allow for agriculture, sends tons of silt down the river out to sea. Native species’ have been lost. The river has widened, the bed raised and flows are no longer the same, sediments have impacted river species' habitats and traditional coastal food gathering.

For Rangitukia Hikoi 0-14, 2016, Natalie pegged out 21 markers along 100 meters of the beach, returning daily to photograph over a week long period. At this location, the driftwood and sand combine in coastal accretion, as sediment flows out of the river mouth. This work shows markers 0-14  (70M), using the length of the gallery space to walk along the panorama.  Bleached driftwood embedded in the sand appears skeletal, the landscape desolate. Natalie’s large scale format is familiar, redolent of New Zealand artist Colin McCahon’s painting Series Walk (Series C), 1973, which also present a sequence of views showing the changing states of the tide, the horizon and sky. Natalie’s work similarly shows the changing weather, reflecting on the mutable environment. However, this photographic work serves another purpose. The takutai moana, the foreshore, is a politicized environment and from a Ngati Porou perspective, a spiritual pathway. It is an immersive document of the environment; a record for future generations to experience the state of their landscape in 2016, capturing evidence and heritage for years to come.

Alex Monteith, Still from Papamoa clean up, 2011

Alex Monteith, Still from Papamoa clean up, 2011

Rena Shipping Container Disaster, 2011 (ongoing), Alex Monteith
More about this artwork

Rena Shipping Container Disaster, 2011- ongoing


Video intallation


courtesy of the artist

In October 2011, the shipping container vessel Rena ran aground on Astrolabe reef, Te Moana a Toi, off the Tauranga coast, Aotearoa in fair weather, creating a 5 kilometre oil slick,  threatening wildlife and the area's rich fishing waters.

Alex Monteith, whose practice has evolved from experimental documentary film, was one of many who went to help in the aftermath and footage and stills additional to what is seen here, were used by Greenpeace in their coverage. The resulting series of videos are comprised of long-take documentary shots, filmed at Papamoa in the week after the wreck occurred, and then at Waihi beach in 2012 when some of the containers from the still-stranded vessel washed ashore. 

The footage shows the dedicated clean up by the Defence Force and civilian volunteers.  Wide shots against a hazy horizon show hundreds of people painstakingly removing heavy-fuel contaminated sand by hand, dressed top to toe in matching safety gear. Orange diggers interrupt the framing, shifting bags of hazardous waste from the foreshore to somewhere else and army trucks move up and down the beach. Besides the vehicles, all is eerily quiet.

The scenes are surreally familiar. The Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico captured the world’s attention in 2010; we recognise the same oil slicked wildlife, desperately pathetic; the overwhelming impact of disaster on local communities, reliant on their ocean. Here in Aotearoa, in what as become one of the most costly salvage jobs in the world, we see localised consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels and a global economy built on shipping goods internationally.

The scale of the clean-up illustrates how unprepared we are for a disaster on a larger scale. Rena was merely one container vessel. With the environmental and economic impact of this event still fresh in our memories, should the government be so keen to welcome international oil giants to explore the coasts of our shaky, volcanic isles? Where do we draw our line in the sand?  


 

Hayden Fowler, New World Order (production still iii), 2013

Hayden Fowler, New World Order (production still iii)2013

New World Order, 2013, Hayden Fowler
More about this artwork

New World Order, 2013


HD digital video, colour, sound, 15minutes 17 seconds


Courtesy of the artist



Hayden Fowler’s installations present a surreal, dystopian world where humans who lose connection with nature try to reconcile with  it. Drawing on contemporary discussions around ecological destruction, genetic modification and the alienation of an increasingly urban society from the natural environment, Hayden’s work depicts places that merge scientific theory with popular culture.

In New World Order, a series of sliding vignettes show exotic, peculiar birds perched in grey woodland. Preening and calling, these are rare heritage bred chickens, their unusual plumages markedly different to the domestic fowl. The scene is bleak, inducing and engaging with Solastalgia, a term coined by the philosopher Glenn Albrecht, which describes the sense of helplessness and distress induced by the loss of our environment, natural ecosystems and biodiversity. In New World Order, the landscape is ashen and barren, perhaps a vision of a post-apocalyptic future. Trees are blackened and lifeless, the background is hazy and dense, like a stage set or film backdrop, or perhaps a dusty diorama in a strange museum. The birds call with unsettling electronic ringtones; a soundtrack imagined from a not so distant future where these birds have partially absorbed and ‘remember’ human technology. They appear completely at home in this dark place, but for the viewer, they’re unsettling, unnatural.

These scenes are both a future narrative and a reminder of our own histories. Aotearoa was once 80 percent covered in native forest; waves of migrants, both pacific and european, have burned and cleared the land to support our existence. A small island in the pacific, many of our bird species evolved in isolation away from mammalian predators. This made them larger, ground dwelling, and vulnerable to hunting by both humans and the animals that accompanied them in their settlement. Many species, both plant and animal, have not survived. 

In response, we have created conservation estates; small eco sanctuaries, reimagined wetlands planted with native species, stands of native trees with predator proof fences.  Places we can visit, but not remain. Nature is controlled by us, kept in stasis. Breeding programmes for our native kakapo and kiwi are celebrated as we keep these creatures from extinction by the faintest of margins. These conservation estates are celebrated in technicolour, bright hues and positive idyllic scenes; a stark contrast from Hayden’s monochromatic sets. Are these efforts enough? Do they sate our Solastalgia? 

New World Order seeks to inspire a cathartic release experienced by imagining the world post-humans. Perhaps when watching we can imagine autonomous nature newly evolving amongst the apocalyptic ashes of our destruction. Fowler pushes us to question how we can think about and embrace new ecologies, or set up their genesis? It’s a difficult question to answer. For example, if Aotearoa were to return to an autonomous ecology, rather than a highly controlled human-dependant one, there would need to be either a total eradication of exotic predators, or a total acceptance of them, and acceptance of ongoing extinction.

Anne Noble, Dead Bee Portrait #13, 2015

Anne Noble, Dead Bee Portrait #13, 2015

Bruissement, 2015; No Vertical Song, 2015, Anne Noble
More about this artwork

No Vertical Song, 2015
The Dead Bee Portraits # 2, #7, #13,


Pigment print on Canson baryta paper
Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms, Auckland

Bruissement
Bee Wing Photograms #10 #11
Pigment prints on Canson baryta paper
Courtesy of the artist, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch and Bartley and Company Art, Wellington.

Artist and beekeeper, Anne Noble, has developed a number of projects in recent years concerned with the global decline of the honey bee; a worrying trend that has been observed since the 1990’s. The ecosystems we are dependent on for food production rely on bees and other pollinating insects. These pollinators are being adversely affected by industrial agriculture, pesticides, parasites/pathogens and climate change, as well as the loss of biodiversity due to monoculture planting for mass food production. In her work Anne employs antique photographic and scientific imaging technologies and all that contemporary print technologies offer.  Her photographs of bees are made using found specimen slides, Anne’s own homemade microscope and an electronic scanning microscope. Noble sees the bees as both a living system under stress and a model for our own society. As she says, ‘what is happening to the bees, we are likely also to do to ourselves’. 

No Vertical Song

No Vertical Song is a series of portraits of dead bees, photographed as if they are items in the collection of an imaginary museum for the bee from a time in the future when the bee no longer exists.  Perhaps in a process even more alchemic than silver based photography, these bee portraits were made with a scanning electron microscope, an imaging process that employs an electron beam that is excited by the element gold.  The technology traces a strange surface without the translucency visible light would give - lending these bees an aged quality as if they have been covered with a layer of dust.  While they might forecast a future without bees they are intended as an elegiac reminder of the importance of our present relationship to the natural world.

Bruissement #10 #11 

Two photograms from a larger series of 15 works entitled Bruissement - a word that in french describes the sound of wings or the softest rustle of leaves.  They are the imprints of the detached wings of bees that Noble collected from beekeepers whose hives had died from a toxic mix of cold, starvation, pathogens and parasites.  Unfolding like long Chinese scrolls, the delicate traceries and looming shadows evoke both a ghostly and angelic presence but also point to the potential absence of a species.


Pictured: Anne Noble, Dead Bee Portrait #13, 2015

Drill, Performance on opening night of Precarious Nature, 2016

Drill, Performance on opening night of Precarious Nature, 2016

Drill (performance) 2016; Weight (installation) 2016, Melissa Macleod
More about this artwork

Drill, 2016. 20 minute performance. South New Brighton School students and friends, life jackets, yellow duct tape  (pictured above, photo: Naomi Haussman)

Weight, 2016. New Brighton Sea Water, PVC tanks, pumps.


Courtesy of the artist

School children in bright yellow life jackets standing in formation. Melissa Macleod’s Performance, Drill, relocates a snapshot of what is practised at South New Brighton School; students completing an emergency tsunami drill. This is a necessary and basic response to the recent earthquakes and tsunami warnings. Through repositioning this ‘normal’ coastal activity inland this work aims to create an awareness of daily life in the East, unseen by other areas of Christchurch.

Sitting in tandem with Drill, the installation, Weight, explores a further layer in connection with the sea and coastal existence. Determined by capturing tidal water that overflows the gutters, Weight responds to the effects of lowered land (post earthquakes) and increasing sea levels. The water tanks in the Mair Gallery have been filled with the sea - an amount measured in relation to the King Tide that regularly covers the road on the street corner near Melissa’s house.

While the sea represents a vital part of life for some in Brighton, it is equally an unmeasurable force that demands respect, and increasingly the burden of excess water is becoming an issue that needs serious attention. With climate models predicting increasing temperatures and with them rising sea levels, it could be that New Brighton, like many coastal communities, becomes uninhabitable in the foreseeable future. Its residents who have remained since the quakes, despite the liquefaction and compromised infrastructure, may be forced to relocate to higher ground. Given the lower socio-economic status of the area, the population could become some of the first of Aotearoa’s climate refugees.

If the rate of sea level change continues as predicted, this will be within the lifetimes of today’s children. We are already seeing our neighbours in the Pacific inundated by rising tides. By perpetuating our current, carbon heavy lifestyle without thought, what future are we handing to the next generation? Can we continue only equipping them with temporary buoyancy aids for a future in which they’ll need to learn to swim through storms rougher than those we can currently imagine? Through the depositing of this physical and psychological load onto the CoCA floor, Weight aims to share the burden and bring focus to one of numerous current concerns circumventing coastal communities.


Artist note: 


Sometimes you cross paths with someone you don’t expect to learn anything from. That throws you. On Sunday I had 3 trips to the local garage to use the compressor. My car was packed with leaking inner tubes. Grey from tire dust, I had to explain myself. He might be 22.


I said - I am making this work        filling these 3 tanks      but having to displace water due to the bloody gallery floor loading. He said- helium is lighter than air.             I have to work within my means. I have the air easily accessible here. I have been running around like a nutter enough as it is.         He said true,          but kept thinking of helium.       The inclusion of these inflated tires is making me feel sick actually. I really hate not being truthful with the materials. But you will let people know?   Right now only you know.     But it is actually more interesting that the actual weight of the water is too heavy, that it would break the floor     that one flood is too much.         Out of limitation often comes the most interesting part you know.     You have to be honest with people.


He gave me cello tape for the leaks. It worked surprisingly well.


CoCA and Melissa Macleod would like to extend thanks to:


University of Canterbury Biology Department
South New Brighton School
New Brighton Fire Department
The Tire General (Blenheim Road)
South Shore Service Station (New Brighton)
All the performance participants


 


 


 

Pooling, 2016, Tyne Gordon
More about this artwork

Pooling, 2016


Acrylic and oil paint on hardboard, found objects and mixed media, audio recording


courtesy of the artist

Tyne Gordon’s artworks are concerned with dichotomies: the monumental and the miniature, wild and domesticated, chaos and control. Shifting colour palettes, objects, and sounds are used to depict expansive natural and industrial spaces, reconfigured to an intimate scale.

Pooling is a collection of works based on a recent research trip to Iceland; a landscape both similar and wildly differing from that of Aotearoa. This type of field trip follows the tradition, particularly during the enlightenment (17-18th centuries), of artists exploring and documenting unfamiliar landscape to broaden their understanding, and returning home with new information.

During the residency, Tyne investigated Iceland’s volatile volcanic landscape through painting - researching form, colour and texture, as well as creating sculpture and field recordings. She also studied the relationship between people and their environment -  the wild and the domestic - interested in the differing psychologies of living in a climate of uncertainty. Geothermal and volcanic activity is unpredictable, and at times, perilous to human existence. In Aotearoa, we are drilled in earthquake response from childhood, and understand ‘tectonic activity’ as a part of our cultural existence. In Iceland, where the geothermal activity is more extensive, they deal with its constant presence by framing it as a resource and containing it.  Although natural geothermal pools exist, people are more likely to interact with a moderated version - temperature controlled hot pools and domestic hot water. If viewed from a wider context, this behaviour reflects contemporary physical and psychological relationship between humans and an environment from which we’ve become detached.

Tynes paintings take huge geological formations and domesticate their scale, playing off the unworldly colours in the Icelandic landscape. The sculptures are a combination of items and rocks found whilst in Iceland, and existing objects from Tynes studio at home. Through this examination of the distant other, the work engages the viewer to bring their own familiar understandings to the objects and paintings created to make sense of them.

Photo:Daniela Aebli

Photo:Daniela Aebli

Plants from the sale table, 2016, Zina Swanson
More about this artwork

Zina Swanson is known for investigating and interrogating the relationship between humans, their surrounding environments and the natural world. The specimens in Plants from the sale table have been sourced from the 'reduced to clear' stands in large DIY stores around Ōtautahi Christchurch. Displayed on a custom built stand, its scale lonely in the centre of the Mair Gallery, this work considers the paradoxes of consumerism in relationship to the natural world.

A few generations ago, we would have swapped cuttings from our back gardens to propagate new plants, and faithfully stored seeds from each crop for the next rotation. It was survival to grow your own food. But times have changed, especially for city dwellers. Rental properties may not allow gardening, our urban populations are more dense and land is scarce. Resources to create gardens and the knowledge of how to do so have been restricted and monetised. Now, if we are lucky enough to be able to afford both the time and cash resources to garden, more often than not, we buy good soil from plastic bags and garden in pots with little thought to permaculture that might sustain us better.

There have been cultural moves to get us ‘back to basics’ with gardening of late. Timely, as global politics sit precariously and so much of our food is now imported. New World supermarket’s ‘Little Garden’ promotion, for example, where one receives a tiny, biodegradable pot, dehydrated soil and seeds to start off your vegetable garden have been a great hit. A mere $40 worth of groceries gets you one pot and the scheme has been lauded as a positive move away from their previous, plastic collectables. However, the campaign is only accessible to a certain class, and the wait time on maturation for many of these seeds is 60-90 days; if they sprout at all. Gardening is a commitment. It remains to be seen if this campaign will inspire a future generation of gardeners so used to instant satisfaction.

In the DIY store and the garden centre, hundreds of seedling plants sit ready to be planted -  10cm apart,  part sun, water well. The lifestyle guides say eat local, grow your own. But time is a luxury, so in order to participate as directed, we let someone else do the germination, then wrap them in non-recyclable plastic and send them across countries, accruing carbon footprints as they go. So much for eating local.

And for the plants that don’t sell quickly enough

In the garden section of a well known store selling domestic wares, there is a single display stand reserved for dying plants, their decline recorded by the layering of 'priced to clear' stickers.

The stand is a segregated site where value is ascribed to each plant based on physical attributes and state of health. Deformity, disease and age devalue each specimen.

It's the last chance these rejected plants have before being discarded


 

Dust Gatherings: Potential and Poison, 2016 Two types of hand made recycled papers.Potential: Organic recycled materials and seeds. Poison: Contaminated recycled materials

Dust Gatherings: Potential and Poison, 2016

Two types of hand made recycled papers.
Potential: Organic recycled materials and seeds. Poison: Contaminated recycled materials

Practicool Planet; Dust Gatherings: Potential and Poison; Gang Patches; Lux & Plant Gang Chats, 2016, Liv Worsnop
More about this artwork

Practicool Planet, 2016
Zine, limited edition $10 Koha or via donation of a plant to the CoCA office


Gang Patches, 2016
Handcrafted from recycled leather scraps


Also:


Dust Gatherings: Potential and Poison 
(pictured) Two types of hand made recycled papers.
Potential: Organic recycled materials and seeds. Poison: Contaminated recycled materials


Lux & Plant Gang Chats
Documentation of ongoing conversation with Lux Cafe on their sustainability standpoint.

Courtesy of the artist

Mention environmental art practice in Ōtautahi Christchurch, and anyone in the know will ask, ‘Have you talked to Liv?’ Indeed, her focus on sustainability and intriguing ways to engage with the world around have made her a key figure in this movement. Her guerilla gardening practice featured in the documentary The Art of Recovery, 2015; late night shots of her on a customised bicycle with a trailer,  relocating succulents recovered from the red-zone to infiltrating the concrete rubble left by the quakes. Her series on the uses of common weeds of the rebuild started as a street art project and has been made more permanent; sandblasted on the glass windows of Christchurch institution C1 Espresso.

Thus, when curating Precarious Nature, we extended an invitation to Liv, to create an intervention or new work, responding to CoCA or the exhibition. Her response is comprised of four parts. The zine - Practicool Planet, which contains a sassy, holistic guide to living for the earth, will be available as a limited edition for $10 or in exchange for a plant donation to the CoCA offices. It outlines cyclical systems of growth and decay which we need to tap into in order to thrive.

The Dust Gatherings, are stacks of home-made paper which will accumulate throughout the course of the exhibition.  Liv is producing these from waste materials collected from CoCA office and Lux cafe, and from Liv’s daily commutes to work and weekly commute to CoCA during Precarious Nature. The papers are separated into two types; Potential and Poison. The materials used in Potential, can be absorbed back into the earth and include non contaminated paper, food scraps, egg shells, plant materials, charcoal, seaweed, coffee grinds, banana skins, cardboard, hair and soil. The paper will all be mixed with seeds, and following the exhibition it will be ripped up and soaked and left to germinate. The materials used in Poison have contaminants, such as ink and plastic, that cannot be reabsorbed. The papers made from this will be reused in other projects following the exhibition.

Liv has also handmade Plant Gang Patches, as a call to arms to defend the environment. With slogans like ‘vote world, grow veges’ these draw on the rhetoric of activism campaigns.

Finally, Liv will conduct ongoing conversations with Lux Expresso and CoCA around their philosophical sustainability standpoints, engaging with the steps they are taking to care for the planet and exploring the challenges each face to become fully sustainable. These conversations with be documented by Liv through diagrams and text which present the organisations’ sustainability intentions and shortfalls; for example, outlining the difference between biodegradable and compostable coffee cups.


 

Glacial Creep - Haupapa Tasman Glacier, Tim Knowles
More about this artwork

For Precarious Nature, Tim Knowles is creating a new work, traversing down the Haupapa - Tasman Glacier. Formed by layers of snow, which are compressed over thousands of years and driven downward under their own weight, Glaciers are an important component in the global ecosystem,  intrinsically linked with the water cycle.  Their behaviour influences ocean- atmosphere circulation, sea level, landscape, and climate. In recent years, these rivers of ice have become a key signifier for anthropogenic climate change; glaciers have been documented in rapid retreat worldwide.


 


Snow falling at the top of the Southern Alps around Aoraki Mt Cook takes around 900 years to traverse down the Haupapa-Tasman - the ice slowly flowing down hill at the same time as it’s retreating back up. The terminus is currently estimated to be retreating between 477 - 822 meters per year at the same time as steadily dropping in height. Tim, supported by Mount Cook Glacier Guiding, follows the the glacier’s path down the valley, with a customised pinhole digital camera strapped to his chest, capturing images continuously. The resulting slow shifting film documents the changing landscapes as he descends, moving from white expansive upper snow fields, through sculptural forms of the ice falls, over hard ice and onto the moon like moraine covered lower sections.


 


As in much of Tim’s practice, the work is dependent on drawing and chance; the camera capturing the trace of his movements, plots his path down the ice. The images, constantly cross dissolving, create an atmospheric journey through the landscape.  This blurred, out of focus aesthetic is reminiscent of moody Turneresque British landscape painting. It has been produced deliberately in stark contrast to contemporary tourist landscape photography, which uses high resolution technology to capture incredible detail and sharpness. The softness force us to look harder, hinting at the intangible relationship we have with nature and the catastrophic effects that are occurring within this magnificent landscape.  Perhaps reflecting the death of this and all glaciers, which could be gone from our world soon.


 

Mike Joy, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
More about this artwork

Mike Joy BSc, MSc (1 st class hons), PhD in Ecology is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology group-Institute of Agriculture and Environment Massey University Palmerston North.  He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bioassessment and environmental science.  He has and continues to supervise many Masters and PhD students doing research into freshwater ecology, with topics from native fish ecology to farmers’ attitudes to sustainability.


Mike has published many papers in scientific journals, many international as well as articles and op-eds for newspapers and magazines. He has authored many reports for Regional Councils and ministry for the environment, and has developed a number of bioassessment tools and associated software used by many North Island Regional Councils.


Mike is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including an Ecology in Action award from the NZ ecological Society, an Old Blue award from Forest and Bird, he was named 2009 Environmental New Zealander of the year by North and South magazine, Manawatu Evening Standard 2012 person of the year, in 2013 he received the Tertiary Education Union NZ Award of Excellence for Academic Freedom and contribution to Public Education, the 2013 Charles Fleming Award for environmental work from the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2015 the Morgan Foundation inaugural River Voice Award.


  


https://waterqualitynz.info/2015/12/03/polluted-inheritance/


http://www.ecojustice.nz

Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust (TKoT) is a registered charity. It was established in 1998, and is the outcome of a Waitangi Tribunal settlement between The Crown and Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu. TKoT is administered by six trustees, and employs one fulltime General Manager. It is responsible for the restoration and ongoing management of approximately seven hundred hectares of native coastal wetland (including ten and a half kilometres of coastline). This land, otherwise known as Tūhaitara Coastal Park, runs from the mouth of the Waimakariri River to the settlement of Waikuku Beach, and includes the culturally significant Tūtaepatu Lagoon. Residents of the Kaiapoi Pā and, more recently, members of the Ngāi Tūahuriri Runanga have been closely connected to Tūtaepatu Lagoon and the land that surrounds it. Historically, the lagoon has been an important source of mahinga kai, and it contains a number of urupā. Tu Rakautahi, the founder of Kaiapoi Pā, is buried near Tūtaepatu Lagoon. The name Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara (the nest of Tūhaitara, a Ngāi Tūahuriri ancestress) acknowledges whakapapa or genealogical ties to the land. TKoT aims to retain and enhance indigenous biodiversity, and to preserve the values of Ngāi Tahu. TKoT provides a range of opportunities for recreation and environmental education for all people, and has a two hundred year vision for the future.

Habitat for Humanity, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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Worldwide 1.6 billion people live in poor housing conditions. As a result their health is poor, they struggle to pay bills, buy food or afford medical care. For many even the basics of shelter are out of reach. Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to give those people a hand up to fill their basic needs for housing. Every year, these houses make a real difference in the lives of those they shelter.

Offering them not just a roof over their heads, but the opportunity to work towards owning their house. A simple, decent home is the foundation for a better life. Every individual and family whose life is enhanced by improved housing helps build the foundation for a better New Zealand.

Trees for Canterbury, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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Trees for Canterbury is a well-established community organisation created to meet the Green Effect Trust’s objectives of…

Employ; establishing a sense of involvement in the community for disadvantaged people (physically, intellectually, socially and long term unemployed) and providing an environment of acceptance as well as support and training for self-development – installing self esteem and work habit.

Educate; working with educational institutions, providing assistance in the teaching of environmental awareness.

Regenerate; cultivating native plants for community planting’s and our own revegetation projects using plant material eco-sourced from local areas.

http://treesforcanterbury.org.nz/


 


 


 


 


 

Generation Zero, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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Generation Zero is a nationwide movement of young New Zealanders working together to get our country on the path towards a zero carbon future. We campaign for smarter transport and urban planning, and independence from fossil fuels.

As a non-partisan advocacy and campaigning group, we are able to foster positive relationships across government, business and the non-profit sector. Our latest campaign - a Zero Carbon Act for New Zealand - will hold present and future governments responsible for acting towards a safe and thriving zero carbon future.

The Christchurch branch of Generation Zero was formed in late 2013, and since then we have done a large amount of work around local body elections (including publishing online voting guides and hosting a mayoral debate), collaborated with IceFest and FESTA, gathered public opinions during the Christchurch Long Term and District Plan consultations, and helped to generate enough support for priority bus lanes and a passenger waiting lounge in Riccarton.

We host regular public events to facilitate conversations about climate-related topics and continue to advocate for better public and active transport infrastructure in Christchurch. We are currently developing a sustainable transport pledge scheme - SHIFT - for Christchurch workplaces.


 

350 Christchurch, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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350 Christchurch is part of a worldwide grassroots movement of ordinary people wanting real, urgent action to tackle climate disruption.

Personal lifestyle changes are useful – but no longer enough. 350.org focuses on the wider social and economic changes we now urgently need to tackle climate disruption.

We invite people to change not just their light bulbs but their banks, if those banks won’t stop funding coal and oil operations. We work with students, staff and alumni to shift a university’s investments out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy. We lobby politicians for an effective carbon tax and a realistic climate plan for NZ. We ask Fonterra and Canterbury DHB to use wood waste, not coal, for their heating needs. We alert the public to the risk of deep sea oil drilling off Canterbury’s coastline and support our council to oppose it. We explore the links between climate disruption, deforestation, intensive animal farming and a hyper-consumerist lifestyle.

We work closely with like-minded organisations like Oil Free Otautahi, Greenpeace, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Gen Zero and Forest and Bird. We support the anti-TPPA campaign - if this ‘trade’ deal is passed, all our other campaigns will be far more difficult to win.

We aim to work with as many groups in the community as possible – churches, unions, grandparents, young people, creatives, business leaders, politicians..... The climate crisis will only be solved if EVERY citizen, every one of us, stands up to make change in our own part of the community.

Cause and Effect - Louise Bush Posters, Precarious Nature - Extended Network
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Louise Bush is a young photographer and artist whose work strives to bring issues to the surface of the public’s view. Her risographed series, Cause and Effect is comprised of four posters. These each consider different ways in which humans effect our environment; overconsumption of meat, overconsumption of sugar, our extreme use of pesticides and fungicides, and the way in which all these things effect our water.


Louise is a strong believer that there is more we can do and that if we do not change now then it could soon be too late. She says:


"I’m not asking the world to become vegetarians or to stop eating sugar; we are not designed to eat only vegetables, and sugar is an important part of our diet. This work is more about making us more considerate about our effect (however involuntary) we are having on the world around us. Recycling is not enough anymore. Yes, it is beneficial, but we need to do so much more because we are still fuelling the beast that is global warming.


I’m 21 and yes I’ve been left this huge problem by the ones who came before me, but it is not something that only my generation needs to fix. The older generations need to take responsibility for their action and what they have forced upon their children and be a part of the solution.


We cannot change if only some of us are invested in it."