AURA Festival of Artist Moving Images

CIRCUIT is proud to present AURA Festival of Artists Moving Images, Wellington, New Zealand, 28 Sept-5 Oct 2019.

A 7-day festival incorporating film screenings, installations and performance, AURA was New Zealand’s first-ever festival dedicated to artists’ moving image. Presented by Wellington-based arts agency CIRCUIT with the support of Creative New Zealand, AURA 2019 was the first of an annual festival that will move from city to city.

AURA 2019 was located in CIRCUIT’s base of Newtown, Wellington, and much of the event's activities responded directly to Newtown itself, acknowledging the suburbs role as Wellington most culturally diverse community.

Director Mark Williams said, “We are very proud to present the first edition of AURA in Newtown. We hope this project not only celebrates the distinct character of the Newtown but also the history of artist production in this suburb. In a time of rising living costs it’s important we maintain a dialogue about our communities, where we’ve come from and what we want the future to be”.

Exhibition: Home Movies

AURA 2019 began with Home Movies, a one-day exhibition of 30 artist videos on Saturday 28 September from 10.00-4.00pm. Presented in a series of site-specific locations including shops, cultural halls and businesses, each work was either made by an artist living in Newtown, or was presented as a response to Newtown’s social and cultural character. Each work was displayed in a shop front facing the street, or inside the business or cultural centre. Visitors could pick up a map of artworks from the Pop-Up community space beside New World, the Newtown library, or any of the participating venues in Riddiford St.

Home Movies was curated by AURA Director Mark Williams and local artist Laura Duffy. Williams said, “A lot of people call Newtown home. This project is an opportunity to acknowledge the colour and diversity of the suburb and introduce visitors to new shops and spaces. Hopefully while everyone is looking at the art works they also take the time to pick up a sandwich from Good Boy, get their broken cellphone repaired at TechnoFix or learn about the history of Pacific migration to Newtown!”

In the week leading up to AURA’s launch on 28 September, visitors to Newtown could also keep an eye out for three performance works by emerging local artists, each of whom has been commissioned to make a work responding to the individual character of Newtown itself. A performance by Raewyn Martin will work with pakohe, a dense sandstone involved in greywacke deposits which mana whenua used to form pathways and foundation long before Pākehā settler-colonial use. Each of the three works will be performed in Newtown and videoed for re-presentation as an installation video in Home Movies.

Film screening: Personal space

On Friday 4 October, AURA presented a one-night screening of Personal Space, a selection of five new films by 5 artists, each of whom were asked to make a work in response to the questions ‘What do we call ‘Home’? What are our shared values?’ Screening at 6.30pm at the Newtown Community Centre, Personal Space was curated by Melbourne-based curator Serena Bentley and featured works by four New Zealand artists:

  • Janet Lilo
  • Tanu Gago
  • Natasha Matila-Smith
  • Campbell Patterson
  • And one work by Sudanese-Australian artist Atem Atong.

Symposium: From me to you

On Saturday 5 October AURA will present an academic symposium at the Newtown Community Centre called From Me To You, which features speakers from across New Zealand discussing the question of where art begins in the diaristic, and how can an artist’s personal experiences address collective problems?