Mākū, te hā o Haupapa: Moisture, the Breath of Haupapa

Marks, Stefan
Randerson, Janine
Shearer, Rachel
Bull, Ron
Purdie, Heather
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Conference Contribution
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The cracking and melting Haupapa glacier and lake, Aotearoa New Zealand's fastest growing body of water, are presented in a live cast of mākū, life-giving moisture. Tiny bubbles of ancient breath and atmosphere are pressed inside Haupapa's ancient glacial ice - including sea breezes, pollens, carbon dioxide and methane, as well as the ash of Australian fires. Single words and names of the elemental ancestors in Māori elder Ron Bull's voice, recorded live on the lake Haupapa, are woven through the sound and images to gift and acknowledge Kāi Tahu matauraka (knowledge) in a weather-responsive audio-visual installation. The project bridges meteorology, indigenous cosmologies, and science to create an active and unruly response to this rapidly changing icescape. The artists relinquish the ordering and qualities of sound and video to the weather conditions of Aoraki, recorded by NIWA instruments (New Zealand Institute for Water and Atmosphere) in place near the Haupapa glacier, then turned to digital information which feeds live into the installation, subtly altering the brightness, direction, and movement of the images and sounds according to the real-time weather conditions, and wind direction. Depending on the weather, the image changes and the sound and vocal sequence is endlessly variable. On days of high solar radiation, bright, clear ice and sun predominate and also move the images on screen accordingly, on cloudy days, the image darkens. La Niña conditions for the past three years have brought sunny settled weather to this region in the central South Island and melting has accelerated, indicating the changing climate. This installation expresses what it feels like to be inside that ice and water, responsive to heat, rain and bright sunlight.

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