CROWD SOURCE 2019
Commissioned by Britomart. Located in Takutai Square.
Rainer Weston and Hikalu Clarke have worked together before, producing a two-person show, HOTEL DEVON ISLAND, at DEMO in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2016.CROWD SOURCE, however, represents a newly direct collaboration. Responding to Britomart’s status as a bustling centre of commerce and transportation, the artists have created a monumental video projection exploring ‘notions of sovereignty and group identity’. Their work includes footage of crowds pulled from the internet, simultaneously playing on groups united in physical space and groups connected online. This has been mixed with homogenous computer-generated figures moving in unison, as well as images suggestive of an inundation (a motif of special poignancy in an area of ‘reclaimed’ land that remains barely above sea level).
The video is also threaded through with excerpts from ‘A Fable of Science and Politics’ by Eliezer Yudkowsky. This speaks of an imagined future society that has been forced into cavernous spaces underground. For the most part, the populace is divided into two factions, blue and green, a reference to similar camps that developed during the time of the Roman Empire. CROWD SOURCE uses Yudkowsky’s text as a frame for considering contemporary partisanship of the sort present in both sports and politics, highlighting the proximity of kinship and xenophobia, cohesion and sectarianism.
Rainer Weston is based in Tāmaki Makaurau, where he is currently completing a Master of Fine Arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. Selected exhibitions include: HOTEL DEVON ISLAND (with Hikalu Clarke), DEMO, Auckland, 2016; Being Tween, Rockies, Auckland, 2016; The Devil’s Blindspot, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Christchurch, 2016; The Tomorrow People, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, 2017; fine moon, poor tuning, MEANWHILE, Wellington, 2018; and sometime, someday, when all is said and done, RM Gallery, Auckland, 2019.
Hikalu Clarke is based in Tāmaki Makaurau. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design and was co-developer of the institution’s DEMO project space. He recently completed a residency with Gasworks in London. Recent exhibitions include: New Perspectives, Artspace, Auckland, 2016; HOTEL DEVON ISLAND (with Rainer Weston), DEMO, Auckland, 2016; The Tomorrow People, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, 2017; IT’S A POND NOT A MOAT, MEANWHILE, Wellington, 2017; Necessary Threat, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin, 2017; and Accurate Community Projections, Te Tuhi, Auckland, 2018.
Image: Rainer Weston and Hikalu Clarke, CROWD SOURCE (video still), 2019. Courtesy of the artists.