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    9.30am Registration
    9.45pm-10.00am Welcome from CIRCUIT and Documentary Research Group

    Theme 1) Preparing the ground

    10.00-10.20am OPENING ADDRESS: Ioana Gordon-Smith - Like letters written to friends: the legacy of Barry Barclay and Merata Mita
    Māori filmmakers Barry Barclay and Merata Mita were forerunners in making films by Māori, about Māori, for Māori. Their concerns then might be understood as speaking not to a binary of ‘truth’ or ‘fiction’, but rather as an approach that complicates the relationship between the filmic document and a wider web of social relationships.

    10.20-11.00am: Documentary Research Group in conversation with Dr. Erika Balsom - Kaitiakitanga, Manaakitanga and a Packet of Biscuits
    This panel explores how an ethic of care frames approaches to lens-based documentary practice. At the core of such positioning is the reciprocal process of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and manaakitanga (hospitality, kindness, support), that encompass our ethical responsibilities to enact, through documentary practice, a caring, trusting, protecting and nurturing relationship to whenua and its people.  Such person-to-person connecting is central to the active state that is kaitiakitanga.

    11:00-11:20 – Tea Break

    Theme 2) Deconstructing the past

    11.20-11.40 Tendai John Mutambu - Bouchra Khalili - “How do we bear witness to history?”
    Using three of the artist’s films—Garden Conversation (2014), The Tempest Society (2017), and Twenty-two Hours (2018), this paper considers how Khalili’s work expands on the documentary form‘s capacity to construct (and deconstruct) historical narratives.

    11.40 – 12.00 Alan Wright - Vertigo Sea: Montage and Monad
    Since the 1980s, John Akomfrah has used found footage (from BBC etc) as the basis for a sustained critical exploration of history, race and visual culture.  Meaning resides in the connections and associations that are formed between the selected images. Vertigo Sea (2015) is structured according to the extended possibilities of montage and the condensed form of the monad.

    12.00-12.20 Audience Discussion with moderator

    12.20pm-1pm LUNCH

    Theme 3) Voicing the present

    1.00-1.20: Stephen Cleland - Embodied timelines: the film works of Luke Willis Thompson
    With a particular emphasis on Thompson’s recent work How Long?, commissioned for the exhibition and filmed in Fiji in late-2017, Cleland argues that while Thompson is deeply invested in the capacity of film to present subjects in ‘real time’, it is also vitally important to read his films within a timeline of historical events which are specific to each work.

    1.20-1.40pm Cushla Donaldson with Dr David Hall - The vision of participatory parity
    Donaldson recently participated in the special projects section of the Melbourne Art Fair with 501s, a work commissioned by the Physics Room, Christchurch. Donaldson collaboratively developed a technology that allowed current detainees, as well as those already deported from Australia under the Migration Act (1958), to 'hack' in and disrupt her work, a sensual crystal shoe filling with champagne. She worked alongside advocacy group Iwi n Aus to achieve this. With Dr David Hall she will be discussing the vision of participatory parity and the political opportunities provided by agency over representation.

    1.40-2.00pm –Discussion with Moderator Dr. Erika Balsom

    Theme 4) Leaving reality

    2.00pm-2.20pm James Wylie
    Auckland artist James Wylie presents the Auckland premiere of his film Untitled (2018), prefaced by an introduction examining the intersection of technology, landscape and being.

    2.20pm-2.40pm Becky Hemus - Rendering Reality
    Addressing the work of New Zealand artists Janet Lilo, Jessica Morgan and Sorawit Songsataya this presentation looks at the use of abstraction and cartooned figures as an artistic strategy to reclaim the body. This paper examines how technical bodies and digital representations deconstruct the proliferation of images to reflexively address documentary practice and representation.

    2.40-3.00pm TEA BREAK

    Theme 5) Returning agency to the female perspective

    3.00pm – 3.20pm: Stephanie Beth - A teleology of Montage (cuts) of two Documentary films and impacts of their Distribution
    Film-maker Stephanie Beth discusses I Want to be Joan (1977) and In Joy (1980), two films which she made as a self-taught film-maker and sought to address identity formation in women, and which were distributed via a self-organised nationwide tour with 100 screenings.

    3.20pm – 3.40pm Moya Lawson - Dismantling Narratives in Saudi Arabia
    This paper considers the work of Saudi Arabian artists Arwa Alneami, Ahaad Alamoudi and Sarah Abu Abdullah in relation to the flux of the local contemporary art scene, and the shifting paradigms for exhibition/expression.

    3.40pm-4.30pm Wrap Up / Reflections on the day
    Dr. Erika Balsom in conversation with members of the Documentary Research Group, Mark Williams (CIRCUIT) and the audience


    Fiona Amundsen
    Artist / Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

    Dr. Erika Balsom
    Senior Lecturer, Kings College, London

    Stephanie Beth
    Film-maker, Christchurch

    Stephen Cleland
    Curator - Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington

    Cushla Donaldson
    Artist, Auckland

    Ioana Gordon-Smith
    Curator - Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland

    Dr David Hall
    Senior Researcher, The Policy Observatory, Auckland University of Technology

    Becky Hemus
    Writer, Auckland

    Dieneke Jansen
    Artist / Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

    Moya Lawson
    Curator, City Gallery Wellington

    Tendai John Mutambu
    Curator, London

    Nova Paul
    Artist / Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

    Dr Janine Randerson
    Artist / Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

    Natalie Robertson
    Artist / Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

    Alan Wright
    Senior Lecturer - Cinema Studies, University of Canterbury

    James Wylie

  • Truth or Consequences

    6.30pm, Friday 14 September 2018

    Book Tickets Now for Truth or Consequences

    How can artists respond to a ‘post-truth era’ of humanitarian and ecological crisis?

    Truth or Consequences is a programme of five new works for cinema by artists Andrew de Freitas, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Vea Mafile`o, Janine Randerson, and Bridget Reweti. The programme premieres in Auckland 6.30pm, Friday 14 September at the Ellen Melville Centre.

    Curated by UK-based academic Dr. Erika Balsom and commissioned by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand, Truth or Consequences began with Balsom sending the artists a statement reportedly made by US presidential aide Karl Rove. Speaking to a New York Times reporter he suggested that any attachment to the concept of reality placed one hopelessly behind the times - “That’s not the way the world really works anymore… We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    Curator Erika Balsom says “the five works that comprise Truth or Consequences are very different, reflecting the artists’ individual commitments and interests, but certain preoccupations recur across them, including landscape, migration, indigenous histories, oceanic environments, and portraiture.”

    Vea Mafile`o’s Toa`ipuapuagā (Strength in Suffering) was filmed in the Samoan village of Siufaga in 2016, where a young woman named Toa began to display wounds and cuts on her body on Good Friday. On Easter Saturday, she lost consciousness and was pronounced dead, only to reawaken two hours later. Was she displaying the stigmata, manifesting the bodily violence inflicted upon Christ at his crucifixion? Or are these marks the product of earthly self-harm?

    Andrew de Freitas’ Weight is a portrait of trans musician Lees Brenson, who performs under the name Dregqueen. What appears first as an individual portrait gradually metamorphoses into something much larger: an effort to puncture the monopolization of reality by the forces of normativity.

    Several of the works in Truth or Consequences address the theme of water. Bridget Reweti’s Ziarah takes to the open sea in search of the remains of Tupaia, a nobleman from Raiatea in the Society Islands who was indispensable in liaising between Māori and the crew of James Cook’s ship the Endeavour on its first visit to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1769. Meanwhile, in Mai i te kei o te waka ki te ihu o te waka, Jeremy Leatinuu turns his attention to the journey of the waka Tainui and its people to Aotearoa.

    Janine Randerson’s Interceptor speaks to one of the great problems of ecological crisis: it may not manifest itself visibly until it is too late. Addressing the contamination of Manukau Harbour she documents the activities of those who seek to protect and rehabilitate the harbour, juxtaposing the urgent advocacy of the soundtrack with images in which injustice and emergency remain largely invisible.

    The five artists selected for the 2018 CIRCUIT artists’ film commissions all use the moving image to confront the complexity and fragility of reality. Their formal techniques and topical concerns are diverse, but they all share an interest in exploring how a documentary impulse can facilitate an encounter with our shared world – which Balsom says is “an urgent project in our time of political and ecological emergency.”

    Truth or Consequences from CIRCUIT AFV on Vimeo.

    Truth or Consequences
    $10 (book tickets now)
    6.30pm, Friday 14 September
    Ellen Melville Centre, 1 Freyberg Pl, Auckland, 1000 2018

    CIRCUIT Artist Cinema Commissions
    Curated by Erika Balsom
    Artists: Andrew de Freitas, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Vea Mafile`o, Janine Randerson, and Bridget Reweti.
    Commissioned by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of Creative New Zealand

  • An Oceanic Feeling

    Still from Sunstone (2017), Filipa César and Louis Henderson. Image produced courtesy of the artist. 

    Screening: An Oceanic Feeling

    3pm, Sunday 9th September 2018, Lopdell Theatre, 418 Titirangi Rd, Titirangi

    Described in Artforum as “a deadly serious but wittily poised prophecy of environmental oblivion”, Anthony Svatek’s .TV contrasts the threat to the island of Tuvalu from climate change with the web industry's assertion that the domain '.tv' is too valuable to be terminated, even if the island itself sinks below the waves.

    .TV is presented as part of An Oceanic Feeling, a 6-part screening and exhibition series which explores how the ocean forges connections between people, communities, the human and non-human. A second work in this programme, Filipa César and Louis Henderson’s Sunstone (2017), similarly explores the global reach of capitalism, exploring how optical technologies from lighthouse lenses to global satellite navigation systems alter human perception of space, powers of vision, and cartographic capabilities, and create new images of the world.

    The screening will be introduced by UK-based curator Dr. Erika Balsom, to be followed by light refreshments and the launch of an associated publication by Dr Balsom. An Oceanic Feeling is presented in Auckland by the Govett Brewster and Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery.

    Production still: WUNDERSCHEIN (2018), Guillaume Cailleau. Image produced courtesy of the artist.

    Exhibition Opening: WUNDERSCHEIN

    Opens 5.30pm, Thursday 13 September, The Audio Foundation (show runs until 29 September)
    Special event, Saturday 15 September from 8pm

    When and how does a piece of paper or an artwork acquire an exchange value? How is its value determined and put into practice? 

    Audio Foundation is pleased to present a new installation commissioned by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand with the help of AUT by French artist Guillaume Cailleau. WUNDERSCHEIN is an installation which models, imitates and fabricates currency to address ideas of value in finance and art.

    The title gestures to the complex responses inspired by money. While sounding very close to Wunderschön (‘beautiful’), the title is a German neologism composed from ‘Wunder’ (wonder) and ‘Schein’ (which can be translated as a ‘bill,’ ‘glow,’ or ‘pretense’). The exhibit includes a printing press (which will actively print currency during the opening), 16mm film and video. While not seeking to directly reproduce official currency, the 'money' produced at the opening of WUNDERSCHEIN asks questions around the value of labour and art. Read more

    Still from: BUMPER CARS (2016), Arwa Alneami. Image produced courtesy of the artist. 

    Exhibition Opening: Arwa Alneami: Never Never Land

    12pm, 13 September, St Paul St Gallery 3 (Light refreshments).
    Exhibition continues until 15 September.

    New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote, making 2018 the 125-year anniversary of women's suffrage. To mark the occasion, CIRCUIT and City Gallery Wellington presents the work of a woman artist from the last country to give women the vote, Saudi Arabia.

    Arwa Alneami is a key figure in Saudi Arabian art, exhibiting in and increasingly beyond the Kingdom. Her very presence as a contemporary artist challenges the restrictions her country places on female self-expression, as does her work. Never Never Land (2014) consists of surreptitiously made videos of women spending their evenings at an amusement park in Abha where their experiences are constantly policed by a strict set of rules, prohibiting screaming and wardrobe malfunctions. 

    Arwa Alneami: Never Never Land is presented courtesy of City Gallery Wellington and the artist, in association with the CIRCUIT Symposium The Time of the Now. Curator Moya Lawson will present a talk on the work at 12pm, Thursday 13 Sept. Light refreshments will be served. 

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