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Folded Memory

Ticket Information

  • Free Admission


  • Sat 23 Mar 2024, 11:00am–5:00pm
  • Sun 24 Mar 2024, 11:00am–5:00pm
  • Tue 26 Mar 2024, 11:00am–5:00pm
  • Wed 27 Mar 2024, 11:00am–5:00pm
  • Thu 28 Mar 2024, 11:00am–5:00pm

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All Ages

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'Folded Memory' begins with a tree. Or a part of a tree. A cross-section of a Tōtara to be precise. He Tōtara rangatira sprouted as a sapling sometime around the year 1481. What was this tree witness to? Its growth rings hold the carbon it breathed for 425 years. He Tōtara was felled in 1906 in Taihape and brought to Te Herenga Waka, where it was used to tell new stories. It had a colonial history placed along its rings tracing Columbus to Cook. Wars were mapped. Memory was stalled.

'Folded Memory' reimagines the narratives held deep within the rings of he Tōtara and extends these pūrākau across the uneven ecosystem of a forest. Stories spiral out of artworks. Bright colours from the leaf litter reach up through the understory, and exhale across the overstory. There are clearings where new knowledge is gleaned, meetings are held, and alliances form. A canopy holds visions, cosmic and awakening, and above it in the emergent layer, bodies are warmed by the sun.

The artworks in 'Folded Memory' are made from many parts and carry within them a resistance to simple answers. Shifting from planet to plant, folding connections with cosmic worlds into alternative visions of living and being, 'Folded Memory' questions the physical evidence of time held within the rings of a tree.

Drawing on Nga Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection alongside key loaned items to both complement and complicate the collection, 'Folded Memory' is part of an ongoing collaboration between Susan Ballard and Sophie Thorn. It is envisioned as part of a larger series which aims to shift from listening, to remembering, to imagining and in doing so narrate a new environmental art history of Aotearoa.

Image: Podocarpus totara Tōtara, (detail) c.1480, felled 1906, collection of the School of Biological Sciences, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

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