CIRCUIT Symposium 2016: Phantom Topologies

Poster designed by Callum Devlin, image by Alexandre Larose

CIRCUIT is proud to announce Phantom Topologies, a symposium presented by CIRCUIT in association with City Gallery Wellington on Saturday 10 September, Wellington. With support from Creative New Zealand, Asia New Zealand Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Wellington City Council WARE residency, The Young and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Foundation.

How do we situate ourselves in and navigate the globalized world of 2016? What constitutes proximity and distance for artists in the Asia-Pacific region? Where, how and why do artists seek to locate their work in the world now? What psycho-geographical understandings of ‘here' and ‘elsewhere' have historically shaped moving image production in the Asia-Pacific context? How has the experience of exhibiting work elsewhere affected subsequent approaches to production and distribution? Can we ‘carry’ places with us and how do their traces survive translocation? Is this ‘memory’ of place a resource to be tapped by moving-image makers in the present?

Phantom Topologies is the fourth annual CIRCUIT Symposium and brings together speakers from New Zealand, the Philippines, the UK and Canada. Confirmed presenters; George Clark (UK), Merv Espina (Ph), Martha Atienza (Ph), Alexandre Larose (Can), Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka, Shannon Te Ao, Gavin Hipkins, Bridget Reweti, Dr. Martin Patrick, Dieneke Jansen, Paul Janman, Nina Tonga, Mark Amery, John Vea.

$40 waged / $20 unwaged. Register online:

From 7-10 September Phantom Topologies is preceded by an Artist’s Week of installations, screenings and events. Click on the header at the top of to view.


9.45am Welcome / Introduction
Mark Williams (Director, CIRCUIT)
Dr. Martin Patrick (Senior Lecturer, Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University)

10am-11.00: Lens-based interaction
How does the method of a works making and the modes of its encounter afford its participants anything? Three artists offer 5-10 minute overviews of a recent project made ‘in the field’ and discuss issues in making the work.

Dieneke Jansen (Artist, Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology)  Alexandre Larose (Artist, Canada)  
Bridget Reweti (Artist, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi)

11.00 – 11.15 Teabreak

11.15-12.00pm: Counter-histories of Art and Social practice
Merv Espina gives a presentation about Kidlat Tahimik, a pioneer of the postcolonial essay film and the grandfather of the Independent Philippine Cinema. Christina Barton discusses the 1975 documentary Te Matakite o Aotearoa - The Māori Land March, directed by Geoff Steven with contributions from Leon Narbey and Phil Dadson.

Merv Espina (Curator/Artist, Philippines)
George Clark (Artist, Independent Curator, UK)
Christina Barton (Director, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington)

12.00-1.00 - Lunch

1.00pm-1.45: Abstract Shadows: Working with History
A screening of Gavin Hipkins’ film New Age (2015) followed by a discussion about Hipkins’ process as an artist working in response to historical material; from the writings of Julian Dashper to John Ruskin, from Victorian spiritualism to colonial diaries.

Gavin Hipkins (Artist / Associate Professor, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland)
Robert Leonard (Senior Curator, City Gallery Wellington)

1.45- 2.30 Art, Community and the Moving Image
As an artist what responsibility do you have to your community? How do you work with the community? Who is the audience? How do you talk about your work to different communities?

Jake Atienza (Artist, (Philippines)
Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka (Artist, Ngā Puhi, Ngati Pakau, Waitaha)
Shannon Te Ao (Artist, Lecturer Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University Wellington)

2.30-2.45 tea break

2.45- 3.30 Building Better Roads
“Why do we know so little about our Pacific neighbours? And why, given New Zealand’s leading role in contemporary Pacific art, do we not exchange within the Pacific more? Our relationship need not just be one-way developmental Aid street. When it comes to sustainability and community we have much to learn. Don’t we want to understand more, in exchange for contributing our taxes to an independent Pacific’s growth? Increasingly there are opportunities for artists for residencies in Asia. Might more residencies in the Pacific assist our understanding and sense of our place?” – Mark Amery

Mark Amery (Writer, Curator)
John Vea (Artist)
Paul Janman (Artist)
Nina Tonga (Curator, Pacific Cultures, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

3.30 – 4.00 Closing observations
Martin Patrick summary /questions