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Hi-tech arts projection at Norval Foundation
October 4, 2019 - December 20, 2019
Hailed a hi-tech marvel for this century, Norval Foundation presents New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana’s immersive video artwork ‘In Pursuit of Venus [Infected]’. This projection is the result of a 10-year labour of love, at 22.5 metres wide, lasting 64 minutes and with 1,500 digital layers made up of more than three trillion pixels.
Housed in Gallery 1 at Norval Foundation, in a dedicated exhibition space, it’s an epic piece of living, moving, animated wallpaper which brought Reihana international recognition and eventually led to her representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale, where it was described as the best exhibit by critics including those from the Spectator and the Sunday Times.
Integrating hand-painted landscape with live action figures and a densely layered soundtrack, “In Pursuit of Venus [infected]” invites viewers to observe a series of restaged historical events, both real and imagined, of the first contact between British and Pacific peoples. Reihana integrates Māori forms of knowledge and social practices into how the work is structured, offering a sophisticated counter narrative. Simultaneously, in “Pursuit of Venus [infected]” draws upon traditions of popular culture and theatre, including the moving panorama, a type of rotating panoramic history painting that was popular in the 1800s, and pantomime, a form of musical comedy.
Behind the figures is an Arcadian landscape, amalgamations of Hawai’i, Tahiti, Aotearoa New Zealand and other locations in the vast Pacific region.
Cook’s three voyages to the Pacific, as historical events, also feature directly in Reihana’s work. In particular, the title refers to both the transit of Venus that Cook observed in 1769 in Tahiti, and the beginning of the British colonial project in the Pacific. The observation of this remarkable astronomical event was a milestone in astronomy, facilitating an accurate calculation of the Earth’s distance not only to the planet Venus, but also Earth’s distance to the sun. I
Be sure not to miss this hi-tech masterpiece and plan a visit to Norval Foundation in Steenberg, Tokai. This renowned international art work, curated by Owen Martin, will be on display in Gallery 1 until January 20, 2020.
Picture: The Norval Foundation