Tracing the Tāmaki: An Ecological Investigation of the Tāmaki Estuary through Creative Practice

Fromont, Emma Nicole
Jansen, Dieneke
Randerson, Janine
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Master of Visual Arts
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Auckland University of Technology

Tracing the Tāmaki: An Ecological Investigation of the Tāmaki Estuary through Creative Practice is a project that explores environmental aesthetics through collaboration with place. The project endeavours to entangle the human and the more-than-human within its site-responsive methodologies. Centred around the idea of tracing, I use direct-photographic processes such as cyanotype printing, lumen printing and pinhole photography; methods of making that involve a direct and deep level of immersion within the estuary. The works created reside closely to the life and ecology of the waters of the Tāmaki estuary, a place that I have a developed a strong experiential relationship with, after spending most of my life in its presence. Tracing the Tāmaki is situated within a more-than-human paradigm, and invites necessary shifts in perception to engage with the critical ecological concerns.

The artworks within this research project are direct traces of the estuary’s ecology. The images are responsive, live and intimate. They are simultaneously made about the estuary, by the estuary and for the estuary. Each one relates back to a moment of ecological interaction – the moment that it was made – in which weather phenomena, tidal flows and human culture cross paths on a page. This collision of entities means that each work is unique, like a temporal fingerprint. They raise questions regarding the agency of our more-than-human environs and entities, and how we might better relate to them; positioning the elements of the site, the artist and the observer in a new set of relations through the creation and exhibition of the artworks. This speaks to the larger issue of a growing separation between the human and the physical environment, from which their re-tangling will determine our future ecological ethos.

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