Stillwater is a series of three experimental moving images that explore the abstraction, hyper-reality and vibrancy that exists in moments of stillness, ebb and flow, in the waters of the Tamaki River and its culverts and beaches.
The series subverts misconceptions of public perspective and experience of marginalized spaces like the Tāmaki River, and how these experiences are aesthetically and colonially structured. The river and its beaches are ecologically vulnerable spaces, and are inherently misunderstood. Stillwater aims to de-colonise and restructure how the viewer engages with these spaces, and bring to light the complexity of the systems and rhythms that are at play.
Stillwater’s films align with ideas of vibratory modernism. Stillwater plays with the ideas of material and psychic vibrations, disrupting time as a psychic and temporal space through data moshing, and abstracting the spectrum of visual light; offering a hyper-reality that is familiar but activated, and alive. These vibrations are present in the digital rhythms present in the processing of the imagery, organisms, software and the environment moving at distinctly different speeds. Stillwater embraces the river as an entity, occupying a status as an outsider, and needing a voice. It aims to highlight oppositions and intersections in the digital and environmental rhythms, documenting serenity and chaos, and decoding the complex and liminal status of the systems that create these moments.
Stillwater’s imagery is accompanied by audio recordings taken whilst walking through the Te Ngaupata Reserve culvert and Bucklands Beach. The process of walking as making, as a method of mapping experience and physical space, is documented here. My feet crunch over cockleshells and driftwood, splash through waves and sink into sand. Sound as a vibration is used to anchor the viewer in an experience, a grounding that counteracts the imagery’s encouraged displacement.