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Limen Lab: Blue Radius
September 3 @ 10:00 am – September 28 @ 4:00 pm
Limen Lab: Blue Radius
Blue Radius is a local exploration of the ecological emergencies taking place along Tāmaki Makaurau coastlines, namely climate change-induced sea level rise.
The exhibition’s starting point is LandRadius|2, an audiovisual exchange between artists, scientists, mana whenua and community activits who share observations and frustrations about the ecological emergency in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Directed by ecological artist Laura Donkers, this meditative film sits beside Coast Under Threat, a photographic essay by Devonport photographer Stephen Perry
Blue Radius also looks at the ways in which we damage local marine ecology through ongoing extractive practices: mining coastal sand for construction destroys seabed environments, while permits are granted for marina construction on fragile ecological sites. Atareta Black’s kupenga or fishing-net inspired Ngā Aua Rere Kaharunga weaves Mātauranga Māori, whakapapa and kōrero tuku iho or traditional stories together, carefully integrating relationships of the sea, the land, and te taiao, the environment.
A community-led collaboration sees Bianca Ranson and Te Aata Rangimarie Smith’s larger than life carbon stack Tuakana Teina take centre stage as part of this exhibition, representing Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa, Ngāpuhi and the Protect Pūtiki activist group (Waiheke Island).
Sharing the gallery with Ranson’s community-led carbon sculpture is NIWA’s new Serious Game My Coastal Future, an engaging digital experience for tamariki developed with Hum Interactive and Geo AR Games, and Waiheke Island resident Nââwié Tutugoro’s Not Quite a Church and Inciting Public Gathering.
These titles both reference the raid of Camp Kororā at Protect Pūtiki during Level 4 lockdown, evicting kaitiaki and protectors including mana whenua who had been there for up to 4 months. The incident is an unwavering reminder that the public challenging the state’s outstanding relations with Māori, that their duty is to be ashamed of their rights, to submit them, to adhere to them. And that protecting the environment, the oceans, and wildlife bare the risk of criminalisation in the face of a much bigger risk of potential climate extinction, an irreversible fate.
Climate scientists predict that rising shorelines are expected to have a greater impact across Tāmaki Makaurau’s coasts than previously anticipated. Blue Radius brings together art and science to drive home the immediacy of something often too large, world-altering, and seemingly distant to fathom, by looking to local manifestations of ecological collapse that we could be preventing.
This exhibition is made possible with support from Foundation North. It has been devised by Limen Lab, a not-for-profit creative agency that works with communities and organisations to improve perceptions of the environment and attitudes towards nature. At this time of climate crisis and biodiversity loss, Limen Lab promotes art activities and creative experiences that develop engagement and open up perspectives. Limen Lab was set up by ecological artist Laura Donkers. She is based in Kaukapakapa, Auckland and has over 10 years’ experience of working creatively with communities in Auckland and the UK.
About the Artists:
Laura Donkers – Land Radius|2
Award-winning ecological artist, Laura Donkers, created Land Radius|2, a collaborative audiovisual exchange about the impacts of sea level rise on communities in the Auckland region for ‘Dear2050 Oceans on the Rise’ (an international Art + Climate Science exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland, Dec 2021-Mar 2022). A range of contributors voiced the important issues affecting their own immediate environments and communities.
A number of these speakers share from a personal viewpoint; from a Devonport sea swimmer describing his experience of swimming amongst the mangroves, a Pakiri beach resident who attests to the impact of sand extraction on biodiversity at her local beach, and an island resident and protector of the moana who shares a Māoriperspective on the challenges faced by many affected communities along the Pacific rim. Professionals with a vested interest in coastal health are also featured, including the Executive Officer of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, who shares insight into the politics of protecting and restoring the marine park, a Devonport-based fine art photographer who documents the coastal concrete structures along his local beaches, a coastal engineer with NIWA who discusses adaptation responses with communities affected by sea level rise, and an environmental social scientist who describes the benefits of Serious Game development to help communities engage with and adapt to rising sea levels.
Dialogic openness across different knowledge bases, such as Mātauranga Māori, scientific, and communities’ lived experiences, enabled contributors to define areas of local concern, ensuring that this collaborative audiovisual exchange helped to create and make visible new layers of connection.
Protect Putiki – Tuakana Teina
Tuakana Teina relates to our relationship to the kororā (little penguin) and all other taonga species because they are our Tuakana – they come before us in our whakapapa line. Our relationship to them is tapu and we have an inherent responsibility to protect them.
Climate justice starts with those most vulnerable in our community including our taonga species. Extraction, pollution, and governance have left our moana in a biodiversity crisis, facing ecological collapse. The mauri of our moana is under threat.
Protect Pūtiki, a group of mana whenua, mātāwaka, and the Waiheke community, have been rising in defence of the kororā and mauri of Pūtiki Bay against the development of a luxury marina. This work involves 300 piles being rammed into the seabed, causing a section of active kororā habitat to be completely destroyed. This is against the wishes of mana whenua and the Waiheke Community. 32 members of Protect Pūtiki have been served with an injunction and sued for $700k.
Tuakana Teina is a ‘carbon stack’ containing the shredded 1000-page injunction and a shredded Pōhutukawa tree ripped from the breakwater by the marina contractors–these artefacts represent our struggle. The carbon stack contributes to the composting of all food waste on Waiheke Island. When these artefacts become nutrient-rich soil and kai from our māra, they will feed the hungry stomachs of those making this urgent stand at a time of biodiversity and climate crisis. This ‘elephant-sized’ carbon stack stands in the gallery also as a reminder of the climate crisis. Time has long run out. Without radical ideas and action for the protection of te taiao our future is not guaranteed.
Nââwié (Na-we-ah) Tutugoro is a 29 year old artist based on Waiheke Island. Growing up in Grey Lynn, she was surrounded by a sense of community, with an acute awareness that the projects we make can begin to change the world. Born to a Kanak Father and Anglo-Argentinian mother, Nââwié’s parents are both activists; political and environmental. Her mother was a founding member of the Rainbow Warrior, working with Nuclear-free Pacific and anti-whaling expeditions; and has more recently joined the Action Station panel. Her father has been a diplomat, fighting for independence in the Pacific. Both parents are Nââwié’s biggest inspirations. As a family, they have always held strong solidarity with indigenous rights, informing her participation in the Protect Pūtiki protests.
Nââwié’s art practice over the past few years has centred around the self, in particular, her hair and more broadly her urban Pacific identity. In 2021 she completed a Master’s in Fine Arts at Elam, graduating with first-class honors. Recent projects include Bedrock, a group show at The Physics Room (Ōtautahi, 2021) with Emerita Baik and Maia MacDonald, subtle RESPECT with Jenny Takahashi Palmer at Window Gallery (Auckland, 2020), cassette tape garden recorder, a virtual booth in the 2020 May Fair Art Fair and Bling Ring, a group exhibition at Enjoy Contemporary Art Gallery, curated by Vanessa Mei Crofskey (Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2021).
At the moment she is exploring the connection to her Kanak heritage through painting, and in her spare time, Nââwié enjoys tending to house plants, watching theatre and films, going for walks, and listening to live music. Her friends and family would describe her as reliable, a good listener, confident, direct, and personable. She is interested in how art can heal, and how creativity can connect people.
Atareta Rerekohu Black
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tā Imi Moriori
E kau ki ngā tai a Tangaroa, tēnei ka rono ki te ngunguru o te tai e papaki kau nei i te ngutu awa o Te Wairoa Tāpokorau, puta atu nei ki tua o Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa, ki Hawaiki-nui, Hawaiki-roa, Hawaiki-pāmamao. Ka hura mai he uri taniwha o te awa o Te Wairoa-hōpūpū-hōnengenenge-mātangirau, ki uta e.
From a whānau of weavers and fishermen, Atareta’s practice draws on Mātauranga Māori and Taonga tuku iho to create works that are influenced by her whakapapa and the creative practices of her tīpuna. In 2020, under the guidance of her kuia and mentor Dante Bonica, Atareta started exploring traditional Māori fishing nets as an art form, with a specific focus on the construction techniques of kupenga made from harakeke.
Stephen Perry – Coast Under Threat
This body of work consists of observations in Stephen’s local area relating to sea level rise, accompanied by a photobook containing more extensive images.
Stephen finds it hard to believe that the deteriorating structures he has documented were installed in the first place. Hard engineering solutions appear fleeting at best. Piles of imported stones, concrete, and rusty steel in the middle of the beach, far from the cliff face is evidence of the temporary nature of their endeavours. This misguided enthusiasm is being repeated by the current cliff top dwellers who are installing ever more gigantic constructions with rose-tinted optimism. When will it stop?
Stephen Perry has been based in Devonport, Aotearoa for the past 30 years but spent his formative years in Ontario, Canada, including 5 years at Ontario College of Art and Design where he majored in Art Photography.
Having lived through many technological, economic and environmental changes during his lifetime, he enjoys documenting and crafting imagery around the themes of social change, environmental degradation, economic disparity, as well as natural beauty. Stephen’s work has primarily been lens-based, but is often presented in a sculptural way.
Stephen has held many group and solo shows in both Canada and Tāmaki Makarau; a highlight would be having a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, in Ontario, Canada.
NIWA, Hum and Geo AR Games – My Coastal Futures game
As our climate is changing, the sea is rising, and storms are causing greater damage to our coast. The My Coastal Futures game was developed by NIWA, alongside Hum and Geo AR Games, to provide the player with the experience of making decisions about their coastal property as the sea level rises. All is not lost, there are ways you can adapt. You can build a seawall, move your house back on the section or move elsewhere. What you choose is up to you but watch out – things can change quickly! Spend your money wisely to determine your coastal future.
NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, is New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute for climate, freshwater and marine science. We provide decision makers with the science-based information they need to make informed choices and live well in a changing world.
Hum Interactive create digital experiences that optimise human interaction. We design apps, systems and websites that work seamlessly and intuitively, because they’re created with humans in mind.
Geo AR Games develop mobile outdoor applications with an educational environmental twist. Our main clients are government departments and resorts around the world who want to inspire their communities to adopt behaviour change in a fun and engaging way.