Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann

Whāia Tīramarama (2021)

13 min 25 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann's installation Kei Hea te Tuna? (2021) symbolically explores the foreshore around Ōtepoti with sculpture, performance, and film, in search of eels as evidence of a healthy ecology. The video work part of this installation Whāia TiramaramaThe Search is shamanistic and spell-casting, if also gloomy and at times murky. The artist, wearing a surrealistic costume of latex rubber gloves blown up like balloons—or moonlit jellyfish bladders—moves along underneath superimposed filmed layers of drains, culverts, and creek flows.

This cinematic montage, made up of flashes and glimpses, is phantasmal, shadowy, nocturnal. The artist appears as a sequence of undulating organic shapes slithering in a eurythmic-type dance. Esoteric, inward, smeary, the video work, with its slow quest along dubious waterways, seems at once overly earnest and melodramatically poignant, an impression reinforced by its soundscape, available within the installation on headphones."

—David Eggleton

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