Common Ground festival launched during flooding drama

Some of the artists involved in Common Ground, from left, Johanna Mechen, Murray Hewitt, Bruce McNaught, Angela Kilford, ...
Dionne Ward

Some of the artists involved in Common Ground, from left, Johanna Mechen, Murray Hewitt, Bruce McNaught, Angela Kilford, Kedron Parker, Paula Warren, Bruce Mahalski and Stu Farrant, play with Petone's artesian water outside The Dowse after the launch.

The launch of a festival that celebrates water was affected by too much of the stuff.

The November 15 flooding in the Hutt Valley  meant some of the Common Ground festival sites shown at the launch had been photographed under water. 

Bad weather also meant one artist involved in the festival could not make it to the November 22 launch at The Dowse.

Gabby O'Connor was trapped at Scott Base in Antarctica because of her obsession with icebergs.

My Secret Wellington: Gabby O'Connor
Art festival will explore Common Ground

"She has been photographing ice crystals," one of the festival co-organisers Mark Amery said. "It's her second art-sciences residency in Antarctica and she was working out on the ice at a camp far from Scott Base - but then her plane from Scott Base home was delayed."

Her exhibition, Drawing Water, Low Lying, will be focused not on icebergs but what Wellington's flood plains may  look like in 50 years.

She will rope in students from Hutt Valley Intermediate, Hutt Central School,Te Ara Whanui and Hutt Valley High School to help make a rope drawing on the banks of the river at Strand Park. 

"She starts work with some of those before Christmas, in these remaining school weeks, and then back again in February," Amery said.

The festival, a partnership between Hutt City Council and public art producers Letting Space, will mostly take place from February 25 to  March 4.  .

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The other artist who could not be at the launch, Julian Priest, explained his project via a video.

For Citizen Water Map Lab the Wellington artist asks the public to take a  water sample  and either test it or bring it to his lab and then he will put it into a glowing balloon and make a map from all of the samples.

He was in Norway presenting his idea for a floating laboratory.  

For some artists, getting to the launch wasn't the challenge but creating their art was. "We chased the drone with a quad bike and the controller of the drone was on the back of the bike so the drone goes a bit wonky at times," Rising Gale creator Murray Hewitt said.

The drone filmed the Hutt River from Taita out to Matiu/ Somes Island, with Hewitt in a boat for parts of it. The  footage will be presented over five nights with different music each time. 

Inanga Love Park was created because the Korokoro Stream "needs a bit of love", Kedron Parker said. A mural will be painted to try to inspire people to treasure the area more.

Wairua, Wai-rua will use walking tours, workshops and film projections to connect communities in and around Waiwhetu Stream with the stream's whakapapa.


 - Stuff


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