SPARK INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

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(above image) Musician Rob Thorne.

I have been fortunate enough to attend Spark International Festival of Media, Arts and Design held at Wintec in Hamilton, New Zealand. I am currently staying at a backpackers in Hamilton with my fellow Art and Design students.

The first official day of Spark was yesterday (Monday 11th August). Up bright and early, i attended the opening performance of Spark week. This consisted of a performance by Rob Thorne, a artist and anthropologist from Manawatu. Rob’s music incorporates loop pedals and is composed using traditional Maori instruments made of wood, stone, bone and shell. The performance was enchanting and relaxing, I found it extremely enrapturing and would absolutely listen to it during meditation and reflection because of its soothing qualities.

I then attended a talk given by Mark Williams, who is the founding director of CIRCUIT Artist Film and video Aotearoa NZ. CIRCUIT was established in 2012 and supports New Zealand artists working in moving image through distribution of works, professional practice initiatives, commissioning of works and critical reviews.

Mark Williams spoke briefly about CIRCUIT and then proceeded to show six short films supported by the organisation. Although I found it hard to keep my attention on a few of the short films there was one in particular that struck me. The short film began with a German lady in a close up shot, sitting in what appeared to be a bedroom wearing comfortable attire/a robe. The women began confessing her love, looking dead into the screen. This was very confrunting for the audience and I would imagine would make a few people feel a little uncomfortable. The women was genuine and sincere and there was a perfect innocence found within her, as she was speaking sincerely out of pure love, coming from the heart space. When the women finished talking, we were boldly interrupted by a director, who’s dialogue was only in subtitles. The women spoke in german to him and we could see he was directing and critiquing her ‘performance’, telling her that she was not genuine and telling her what to say. The women repeated her performance and again the director began to critique, this repeated a few times. Each time the women was critique her performance became worse and less genuine. What i took from this performance was very powerful and almost a metaphor of life in itself, when operating from the heart space as seen in the first performance the women is beautiful and delicate, she captures the audiences attention and there is something very sincere about her. As the performances go on she becomes shy and almost embarrassed about confessing her love, she has been trampled on and her confidence broken after being told she is not being natural and genuine. I found this short film very provoking and left me wondering and deciphering the meaning for the rest of the day.

The second event I attended was a film screening of a film called The Bag On My Back, directed and produced by Film Director Tapiwa Chipfupa, from South Arfica. The film/documentary was very personal and consisted of Tapiwa Chipfupa following her roots back to her place of birth, Zimbabwe. The film highlighted issue of immigration and the struggles Tapiwa has faced, from not being able to see her family for the past twelve years, to trying to figure out what happened when she was just 19 years of age that dictated the way her life had gone. This documentary was very interesting and insightful, taking a look into the life of another. Tapiwa then joined the room via Skype and answered some questions sent in by audience members.

Finally, in the late afternoon there was a galleria opening to signify the opening of SPARK week. The exhibition was called “Whats The Hurry?” and consisted  of a series of works incorporating performance, video works and traditional media. The artists in this exhibition were John Vea, Agnes, Claire Harris, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Campbell Patterson and Mark Harvey. Below is a image of myself and my fellow classmates taken at the exhibition opening.

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From left: Guy Hoffman, Alice Lee, Amber Cherrington and I.

Overall the first day of Spark was eventful and interesting, I look forward to seeing what else the week hold.

 

Rob Thorne image retrieved from here.

Image of classmates and I retrieved from Spark Facebook page, found here.

 

 

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