Massey lecturers selected for Auckland artist residency 

Eugene Hansen and Jenny Gillam, senior lecturers at the School of Art. (photo supplied).

School of Art lecturers and mixed-media artists Jenny Gillam and Eugene Hansen have been selected for the 2019 Auckland Council Artist in Residence programme in Whatipū, Auckland.

The artists will work collaboratively on artwork inspired by Whatipū’s Te Ana Ru cave and its surroundings, visually and sonically.

Each year Auckland Council selects an artist in residence to live and work in an Auckland regional park. The aim is to create art influenced by the park, which is then shared with the public.

Te Ana Ru cave was once the site of lamp-lit dances, which were held inside the remote cave from 1899 until the 1970s. A kauri dancefloor is said to exist in what was the “ballroom”, now covered by five metres of sand.

Ms Gillam and Mr Hansen hope to insert a geophone in the cave and take subsonic audio recordings of the dancefloor, along with surround-sound field recordings of Te Ana Ru and the Whatipū reserve. The pair will also build a hydrophone to make underwater sound and video recordings in the park and adjacent harbour areas.

The artists’ work will investigate the landscape as an inextricable mix of natural phenomenon and historically shaped social and political construct.

Ms Gillam says their work is about “mapping the unknown and documenting the unseen.”

“It’s a treat to be able to have sustained engagement with such a poetic site that brings together our pre-colonial and colonial histories with our unique natural environment,” Ms Gillam says.

Ms Gillam and Mr Hansen have worked on over 20 projects together since 2003.

 “We are a couple who produce collaborative multimedia art projects, together and with others. We are interested in investigating landscape as an inextricable mix of natural phenomenon and social-political history,” Ms Gillam says.

 The pair will begin their residency at Whatipū in October. Whatipū is located at the southern end of the Waitākere Ranges and is a wilderness landscape featuring extensive wetlands and black sand dunes that merge with the Tasman Sea.

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