Heather Hayward

Segway tour, Treme, New Orleans (2014)

1 min 27 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"This is a video about skill acquisition.
This is a video about aliens in an unfamiliar landscape.
This is a video about horizontality.
This is a video about watching and being watched.

But first, this is a video about tourists in a tourist city. A tour group assemble in front of a brightly painted café in the Tremé district of New Orleans. The setting is at once both caricature and reality; the real life of the city and its residents as encountered by a two-wheeling Segway tour.

Hayward's camera holds steady as the riders zig and zag uncertainty; baby animals taking their first steps. It's both hilarious and joyful to watch. The motion of the Segway is innately ridiculous (too upright by half, and futuristic in a not-quite-right way) but I almost applauded as one and then the next rider found their equilibrium and rolled slowly forward.

At one point a woman turns her Segway towards the camera, realizes she's being documented, and gives a jaunty wave. The moment of eye contact is jarring at first, until you realize that the wave is one of recognition—a greeting from one tourist to another. For who wields a camera in New Orleans but a tourist?"

Kelly Pendergrast, Film and Video curator

Other works by Heather Hayward

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.