My latest Arts Festival outing was Raising the Titanics. Although my view of proceedings onstage consisted of the actors’ heads, and only their heads, framed by the backs of the heads of the people sitting in front of me, I still managed to enjoy it.
Vanity prevented me from taking a rug (so aging) as recommended by one reviewer and it proved the right call. The dome was toasty warm, and resembled an igloo only in shape.
The Titanics, fictionally set in the golden age of the Māori showband, featured some great singing and gave me a craving to hear those beautiful close harmonies from the real thing. Where better to start than The Maori Volcanics? Billy T. James and Prince Tui Teka were alumni, and while I’m listening I’m going to flick through the book about them to enjoy their visual stylings .
Sunday the 14th August. The snow held off and Scape was launched successfully, surely a huge relief for the 6th Biennial of Art in Public Space, postponed twice due to earthquakes.
Art lovers gathered in the TelstraClear Club in Hagley Park to mark the heartbreak and hard work involved, to celebrate the achievement of making it actually happen and to set off to see the works in situ.
We all got a copy of the handsome programme, archival documents in themselves with the many alterations and amendments added as circumstances changed. Lead by the Town Cryer and exhorted to keep it orderly (wasted words to an art crowd – no sooner underway than wandering willy-nilly among the traffic).
First stop was The Lambs’ Book of Life (Folder Wall), the enormous Darryn George work on the Christchurch Civic Offices Building Montreal Street Wall. Based on “an internal view of a filing cabinet drawer with the receding label tabs of suspended folders seen as a metaphor for the function of records and registers”, the sheer scale of the work is quite overwhelming.
After a musical interlude from a small brass band on bicycles and the spectacular sight of a trailer load of red balloons launched into a sky that was still blue, we were off to Gardensity, Ash Keating’s work designed before the September 4th earthquake. This “fictional property development which houses new condensed, sustainable living located in Cathedral Square”, is spookily timely considering the very recent launch of the Draft City Plan, but it does look to disobey the height restrictions (just a bit). It’s on the forecourt of the Art Gallery.
The final work on the walking tour was my particular favourite, Ahmet Ogut’s Waiting for a Bus. A “gently rotating carousel (that) provides an invitation for people to sit, stop and observe the slowly unfolding view of the altered city surrounding them”. The small brass band had nipped around the back way, taken up the invitation and were in fact gently rotating, much to the fascination of passersby. This one is outside the Museum, where there surely is an unfolding view of a very altered Arts Centre.
Get out, have a look and tell – what’s your favourite?