The Performance Arcade brings together visual arts and performance in a specially curated ‘exhibition-event’ of live art practices on Wellington Waterfront. An arrangement of shipping containers and scaffold structures provides a temporary architecture for this unique project, housing a bar space, a programme of live music and events, and new performance installations by NZ and International artists. Open 13 hours a day, this event is free to the Wellington public.

WATER-LOGGED

JULIEANNA PRESTON

Her body bobs in the undulating harbour waters. Ripples extending from her movement caress a field of seemingly stoic structural timbers holding up a breastwork, a false ground that appropriates the foreshore for the sake of leisure, travel and export.

 

Oh Eucalyptus marginata, squared shards of giants felled, imported all the way from southwest Australian, where are your feet? 

Tell me the tale of your migration, the stories of your saturated existence.

 

She navigates amongst the Jarrah piles, approaching them as strangers, non-human live matter, respecting their dignity, inspecting the accrual of vegetal growth wrapping their torsos as temporal memorials to seasonal fluctuations. Her attempts at mimicking the timber’s upright posture bear out overtures of empathetic reciprocity.

 

My feet,

dangling from this plump volume, 

have lost their footing. 

The water and its salinity are thwarting my ability to be still let alone remain vertical. 

This is not swimming; it is attentive floating, a phase change to gravity’s tendency to hold me down, grounded-ness.

 

 

A volley of interactions unfold in the shadows of a dank underworld shimmering with reflections of long white clouds agitated by swirls of sediment rising from the depths of seaweed enchantment.

 

On the sureness of shore, in a shipping container with its doors thrown open, a live stream projection translates such aqueous intercourse to witnesses, an audience. 

 

I can’t maintain this, I give in, I’m going under, going down, 

to catch my breath, 

to gain strong legs, composure, to tread without touching the bottom.

 

The conversation between swimmer and piles persists in states of becoming familiar, an exchange only tempered by exhaustion. 

Julieanna Preston (NZ)

Julieanna Preston is an architectural designer and spatial artist probing the performative agency of

materials through the mediums of creative work and a spatial writing practice. Recent works

include Stirring Stillness: Aesthetic variations on a concrete plane (Konstfack College of Art, Sweden

2015), Auē (Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth, NZ 2015), Reconciliation of Carboniferous

Accretions (NIEMME, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK 2014), becoming boulder (SCANZ, New

Plymouth, NZ 2015), Sounding Out Vacancy (Wellington, NZ 2014), Meeting, you in detail

(Writingplace, Delft 2013), Moving Stuff (Auckland Art Festival 2013), BALE (Snowhite Gallery,

NZ 2011), and No Fixed Seating (Whirlwinds, London 2010). Recent publications include

Performing Matter: interior surface and feminist actions (AADR 2014), “Dear Rosa” (IDEA Journal

2014), “Surface Demonstrations” (Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design, Weinthal and

Brooker ed. 2013), “Blazing Inter-Alia: Tropes of a Feminist Interior Practice” (Feminist

Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture, Lori Brown ed. 2011),

“Fossicking for Interior Design Pedagogies” (After Taste: Expanded Practices in Interior Design,

Kent Kleinman, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury and Lois Weinthal eds, 2011), and as guest editor of

Interior Economies (IDEA Journal, 2012). Julieanna is a Professor of Spatial Practice in the College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, NZ.

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