Kāpia: Fossils and Remedies


"This video shifts from kāpia on a living tree to museological artefacts of kāpia (kauri gum). Kāpia is a resin with a twin botanical function: to heal wounds and to shield a tree from fungi, insects and microorganisms, ensuring the trees survival over millennia. Macro video images of kāpia, housed in the Matakohe Kauri museum in Northland, offer multi-temporal imaginings of a time when kauri spread throughout Aotearoa. The video documents fossilised insects and leaves entombed within the healing resin, some natural and some manufactured by the diggers. One piece is Eocene piece of Kauri amber, fused with coal, as old as 43 million years. Kāpia gum, used as a fire-starter in pre-colonial times, was valued as a lucrative source of colonial capital for varnishes to car polish until the beginning of last century. As a bleeding flow and sealant, kāpia is analogous in some ways to a fluid and excessive survival response to our damaged planet and the fragility of all life in the era of the Anthropocene, a remedy for survival." - Artist Statement


Sound Design: Jason Johnston
Acknowledgments: Matakohe kauri museum