Presented by CIRCUIT at the Auckland Art Fair, Mike Heynes’ multi-channel video installation News of the Uruguay Round was made as a response to the ongoing lack of local content on New Zealand screens and airwaves. While international trade agreements have opened the door for international television productions including Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess (1995) to be made locally (as well as paving the way for much bigger productions like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy) Heynes work asserts that as a country we have failed to adequately invest in telling our own stories.
News of the Uruguay Round consists of a series of re-constructed international film and television production company logos, filmed using a range of techniques including green-screen and simple robotics. While the re-made logos are deliberately shonky and offer critique of a sometimes overbearing presence in our cultural landscape, this is ultimately a work of fan art, as evidenced by the amount of time and material expense taken to build the sets. Despite the political overtones of the project, the artist acknowledges a genuine personal conflict, and the work attempts to balance homage with critique.
News of the Uruguay Round was originally presented at Enjoy Gallery, Wellington in 2016.