Performative presentation of jewellery
Andrew Last and colleague and CLINKproject instigator Johanna Zellmer took a team of artists - students and staff - on an expedition to Wellington in 2021.
"Hierarchies are levelled, with second, third and fourth year students, postgraduates and lecturers all having equal representation and participation in project decisions. ...Unlike most previous CLINKProjects, we pre-made works and left the resolution of their presentation to be workshopped face-to-face and on-site. At short notice, Toi Pōneke offered us a space to complete our on-location planning and preparation. Similarly, Dowse Museum and St Peter’s on Willis generously offered us spaces to present the work to public audiences."
This presentation was performative. The performance was heralded by a karakia tīmata, followed by an ambient sound-work. Two host participants, wrapped head-to-toe in grey cloth, were each led to the head of a long narrow table by two other participants, Covid-masked. The cloth wrap was carefully undone as the hosts were slowly spun around on the spot. The jewellery works revealed in the unwinding by a succession of participants were removed from the cloth and then worn by participants, with the unwound cloth progressively laid out on the tables. As the sound-work ended, each participant removed their jewellery, placed it on the table and stepped back, inviting the audience to engage with the now static display and the makers.
The performance was intended as a mimesis of the mechanism of viral transmission – many being infected by each host and the ‘virus’ spread into the community.
Among the audience for the St Peter’s event was Charlotte Davy, head of the Art team at Te Papa. Charlotte remarked that the quality of the work shown (and the event itself) exceeded several recent exhibitions she’d seen that similarly responded to the strictures of Covid-19.