Monthly Archives: September 2011

Fabric of society

"Folk tales were a great device for teaching and entertainment.
Storytelling defined a culture and gave a sense of what was important to people at a certain point in time.
This project aims to reinvigorate that past-time by giving the opportunity to participate in a safe and anonymous way.

This is a nifty little "social art project" that invites you to contribute a story and have it woven into the fabric of the quilt. It made me think of Post Secret. I hope it gets more contributions.

It's the seed of a bigger thing that the person behind it wants to potentially transfer into an ongoing collaborative project. He told me "As for the stories themselves, they will be in the public domain and no-one will have ownership over them as they are totally anonymous and offered in good faith. It is intended to be a great resource for current and future generations and always free and open. I have no plans for the future use of the stories, other than putting them on the web and out there for the world to see."

NZ On Screen
NZ On Screen have a container down at the Wellington waterfront as part of the REAL NZ Festival. It's a container and it's dark, so it's a bit like being on a boat in that it's not very stable. Make sure you walk in from the Circa side of the container (otherwise you'll get told off) so you can read a little bit about what NZ On Screen does. The main showcase is operated by waving your hand around then pushing it at the screen to 'select' the clip you want to watch. Selected showcase clips are organised into categories so it's not overwhelming. (N.B. The categories don't seem to match up with the collections on the website.?? I was only able to be in the container for about 15 mins so I might be wrong about that.) There's also a screen showing short films plus an interactive Scene Stealer.
I love that NZ On Screen (the website) also has interviews with people involved in screen. There are some well known people and some just starting their career. It's not just that the clips are available in one place, it's that the website has information relating to the clips as well. (For example – I think this is the first NZ short film I watched.)
It's a great website – easy to lose a few hours on.

Costume Showcase 2011

This is a shot of half the Plaza in Te Whaea after the first Costume Showcase show 2011. There are only two shows,  and they are both on the same night. The Costume Showcase includes costumes from other shows that Toi has put on; displays of work from designers and other costumiers; a dance piece (with costumes made by the costumiers.) The pink dress on the stand is from last year. In the photo you can see white dresses made by costumiers in their first year of study. If you look really closely you might also see:

  • (top right) A wood elf (spotlight, you can see his top half)
  • Normal 0 false false false EN-NZ X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 (middle right) The queen’s guard (in the dark, you can see his red jacket and voluminous trousers)
  • (by the pink dress) La Snobinarde (pink cabaret style dress)
  • (in line with the queen’s guard and the pink dress in the middle) Catrina – dia de los Muertos (in white with what look like splotches on her dress but are actually beautiful flowers)

These are the show pieces from costumiers in their final year of study. They have to pick an illustration and then make the costume. This means thinking about it in 3D, thinking about how it would move and sit on the body, creating the pattern, sewing, embellishing, making props, then finally directing the model for the showing. Knowing that they essentially start with a blank canvas makes the costumes they create all the more impressive.


United Nations International Day of Peace 21 September

This post isn't really about peace or how we could achieve it. I tried writing that one but it was very cliched. I kept coming back to paper cranes, so here we are.

Peace is inextricably linked to origami cranes and the story of Sadako Sasaki in my head. She was very young when Hiroshima was bombed, and she died very young from leukemia. There is a Japanese legend that whoever folds 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. In the book Sadako did not manage to fold 1000 paper cranes so her friends completed the task. One year I was in charge of teaching a bunch of Brownies how to fold an origami crane as part of remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Brownie meetings have themes.) I got sick. Was I excused from my teaching task? No. Picture me on the day, hopped up on decongestants, pain killers, and antibiotics, probably floating 30cms above the floor, unable to raise my voice above a whisper, teaching excitable girls the intricate art of folding a paper crane. I had a 'translator', in the form of one of the other leaders, translating my whisper into instructions. Honestly, I don't remember much about that afternoon.??

I think they're linked in my mind because when I went to school, August 6 was a day to remember the people who were affected by the bombs. It was also focussed on peace and ending war. Save the Children (NZ) have a nice definition of what peace looks like to them. "[we] work with children in situations where peace could mean better health, fair working conditions, protection from domestic violence, safe schooling or a way to have their own voices heard. Peace is vital…" I hope they can achieve it.

Random fact: Japanese astronaut applicants are tasked with folding 1000 paper cranes in their?? process.


Let’s do it, let’s fall in love by Cole Porter

This is my latest earworm. Would you like it? You’re welcome.

What’s your story, e hoa?

1. At the Webstock launch, @polarbearfarm talked about his desire for different stories for New Zealanders. His classmates were all headed to jobs in companies and he wondered why they didn’t consider working their own stuff. 

2. Kim Workman came and talked to my organisation about the work he does with criminals and the criminal justice system. His presentation was a series of stories. He said that many people end up in prison because that’s the story of their family.

3. A similar thought occured to me while I was watching Awhi Tapu. The characters seemed to be following a path that had been set down by the mythologies and stories they had grown up with. 

4. However, a conversation with a couple of people on the weekend made me question whether it’s the stories or the way they are told that makes a difference. Both men (and the mother of one of them) went into careers that didn’t have much of a relationship with the careers of the rest of their families.

5. Therefore, my new question is – is it the facts in the story that matter, or the way it is told, or the themes that have the most impact on our lives?

6. What’s your story, e hoa?


Wellington is built on rubbish


Inspired by Te Radar’s Eating the Dog, I have found this photo of the progress being made on the “Winter Show Association’s extensive buildings and grounds”, a building I now work in. It was published in the Evening Post, 4 June 1928. According to other articles, it was originally a gully but was filled in by refuse from the tip just down the road, and spoil from the construction of the Mt Victoria tunnel. Reading other articles there’s a theme of land being landscaped with rubbish, and spoil in order to flatten it out. Now I wonder just what Wellington looked like for the early settlers.

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