“If the essay film has become a trope…and these strategies that we’re using have become formulaic, how do we negotiate our way through that?” —Gavin Hipkins.

In the fourth of our conversation series Sonya Lacey and Gavin Hipkins discuss a shared interest in failed utopias, the moving image as a distribution mode of sculpture and working methodologies.

Catalogue Notes:

00:00: Introductions

1:00 SL: On residency in Singapore researching Cambodian print cultures

2:30 GH: On survey show at Dowse Art Museum, and sequel to The Homely at City Gallery Wellington, discusses spending time with the work whilst ‘in exhibition form’

3:55 GH: Shift from photography to film, formal and thematic synergies between the two mediums

6.00 SL: Making moving images from a design and sculpture background. Discusses the making of Newspaper for Vignelli (2015); and making films as an act of distribution for the sculptural object

7:50 GH: Engagement with modernism and failed utopias, unrealized and realized projects.

9:32 GH: On SL’s practice of ‘making and staging’, makes comparison with Thomas Demand’s use of miniature / maquette and use of stills as means to document; the idea of ‘metamorphosis’

10:20 GH: Asks SL about her CIRCUIT commissioned work By Sea (2015), describes it as ‘exquisite’ but “I don’t understand the connection to the commission”. Mentions his own commission in response to the writing of Julian Dashper.

11:00: SL: On the geometry and architecture Joanna Paul’s letterforms and poems as inspiration for By Sea. Question of how dependent to be on the source material.

13:00 MA: What is the resonance of these failed utopias today? GH: On City of Tomorrow (2017), inspired by Corbusier’s architectural vision of Chandigargh. Discusses Leisure Valley (2014) and The Port (2014).

16:00 SL: Modernist history as ‘foil’ in her work, modernist design as ‘pure transmission of content’. Discusses Infinitesmals (2016) - ‘Almost like making the found object I wish existed’.

18:00 SL: Discusses making work for cinema context versus installation. Use of script /text for By Sea to bring ‘sense of intimacy’.

20:50: GH: Describes shared ‘essayistic’ practice with SL. “If the essay film has become a trope…and these strategies that we’re using have become formulaic, how do we negotiate our way through that?”

22:00 GH: Asks SL about use of the voice in her work Infinitesimals - “Within the heterotopian space what does it mean for (the actor/readers) voice to be present?”

24:30 SL: Discusses working a Japanese New Zealander to voice By Sea. Discusses attempt to use subtitles.

26:15 SL & GH: Discusses working with actors for Erewhon (2014). Use of visual prompts. GH on working with reader Mia Blake.

29:00 GH: On collaboration in moving image projects and with jeweller Karl Fritsch, sound designer Ben Sinclair.

31:30: SL: On collaboration, instructions to musicians. Discusses Lightreading collaboration with Sarah Rose “we can overwrite anything that each other have done…there’s nothing that’s untouchable”. Discusses Courtenay Place commissions and new negotiation of collaboration between Lightreading and others.

35:13: GH: Working with Karl Fritsch and giving up authorship. On recent soundtrack for City of Tomorrow by Torben Tilly, and presenting the audio in an installation context. Activating a single channel work through performance.

Recent CIRCUIT Cast episodes

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.