From the sinking city of Venice to the disappearing islands of the Pacific and voyages in between, these four works from New Zealand and European artists share themes of loss and memory, letting the past inform the future.
These four works of art cinema explore the feeling of loss, looking back to the past with anxiety for the future. New Zealand artists Gavin Hipkins and Virginia King explore foreign but familiar spaces, creating new memories for a forgotten time. Dane Mitchell’s Venice Biennale 2019 installation explores vanished phenomena as the city slowly sinks, while Italian collective Flatform brings the effects of global warming in the Pacific to vivid life.
A young man’s letter to his mother, sent home to New Zealand from England during the First World War. London’s Royal Parks provide a painterly setting for this meditation on Empire, travel and longing, that features Gavin Hipkins’ grandfather’s photography and writings from his enlisted travels.
Virginia King captures footage of her textual sculpture Floating Alphabet drifting through the Grand Canal in Venice during the Biennale 2019, combining it with imagery of both the faded opulence of the sinking city’s 15th-century buildings and the gorgeous illuminated manuscripts that her work echoes.
New Zealand artist Dane Mitchell’s exhibition for the Venice Biennale 2019 Post hoc employed modern technologies to invoke the memory of the lost. Adam Luxton’s short doco explores Mitchell’s process from his Auckland studio, to a cell tower factory in Guangzhou and the final installation in Venice.
A single shot takes us through Funafuti in Tuvalu as overheated sea water rises up through the drought-parched earth and floods the atoll. A portrait of a territory in flux, land that is becoming ocean and the concrete effects of global warming writ large.