Up River Blues


Up River Blues is a dreamlike series of vignettes featuring the region surrounding the Whanganui River Valley. The abandoned Shangri-la commune of Ahu Ahu Ohu, on the Ahu ahu tributary of the Whanganui is the central feature of this video. In 1974 the NZ government found an “Ohu Scheme” on public land to establish communes - “intentional communities”. Most failed. This was one of the longest lasting "Ohus". A sense of apocalyptic foreboding was created through special effects including 3D animations of a stranded Russian submarine rusting on a steep inland hill and black helicopters flying over Ahu Ahu Ohu. (In fact, helicopters are a reality in this region in the government‘s search for marijuana crops; the hills are indeed former sea beds.) In combining apocalyptic paranoia with irreverent whimsy the video ends with a tree disappearing into its shadow and a crop duster reversing into a cloud of dust.