Folding Time: An Exploration of Experiential Research Through Family Stories

Curtis, Makyla Anne
Jansen, Dieneke
Redmond, Monique
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Master of Visual Arts
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Auckland University of Technology

Folding Time is a journey to better understand how I might belong in Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pākehā settler descendant. It is a process of disentangling my sense of self and identity from the myths of Pākehā homecoming and active ignorance of our history. Through an experiential research approach based on the whakataukī ‘ka mua, ka muri,’ (looking back in order to look forward), and embodied presence and subjective experience, I explore my family’s history and our marks on this land.

Searching through family repositories and stories and institutional archives I seek out opportunities for field trips and site visits to engage with a folding of time in which I might be present with my ancestors. I may not find answers in these sources but I build experiences with my family, particularly my father, on these journeys into the past in order to understand our present.

Discovery, record-keeping, writing, and poetry form a strong thread of wayfinding throughout the project in which events, imagined and experienced, are re-viewed and re-enacted. Time is folded in the reliving. The project culminates in a print, poetry, and book collection that reflects and reactivates the experiential research that takes place in the field trip and site visits.

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