1 November 2019
In the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Rotorua is now home to a unique site and cultural audio installation at the Lakefront for the next three months.
This installation, created by artist Allan Giddy who grew up in Rotorua, uses the natural flow of water to convey the messages of children in Aotearoa and Australia to their communities, their countries and the world in their languages.
The work is essentially invisible to passers-by, yet the underwater audio can be easily accessed via a pole held with one end in the water and the other against the ear.
The children’s voices, recorded and edited into soundscapes, are being ‘released’ into the water to flow into our lakes, rivers and oceans.
Rotorua Flow has been created with the participation of one of the schools attended by the artist as a child: the voices are children from Malfroy Primary School, speaking te reo Māori.
Rotorua Lakes Council Public Arts Advisor, Marc Spijkerbosch, says Rotorua Flow showcases the unique concept of spreading knowledge and appreciation of indigenous languages.
“We hope both locals and visitors to Rotorua will come down to the Lakefront and listen to the tamariki sending their thoughts across the water this summer”, says Mr Spijkerbosch.
The creator of Flow is New Zealand-born, Sydney-based public artist Allan Giddy, a pioneer in the use of sustainable energy systems and light in ‘time-based sculpture’, and the founding director of the Environmental Research Initiative for Art (ERIA) at the school of Art & Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Over the last decade Allan has expanded his practice into the public domain, specifically public-sited ‘active sculpture’, and has completed a number of large public commissions, in Australia (including permanent works for City of Sydney and Sydney Olympic Park Authority), China, Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Allan grew up in Rotorua, the son of local milkman and champion lawn bowler Sid Giddy, and has returned to work with schools he attended to create an iteration of Flow in Te Arawa waters.
The project was developed at Parihaka Pa, Taranaki, on an Intercreate residency. It is supported by Creative New Zealand and facilitated by Rotorua Lakes Council with the approval of Te Arawa Lakes Trust.
Rotorua Flow will be located on the Rotorua Lakefront from 1 November, and can be experienced daily until 31 January 2020.
Image credit: FLOW in place at Rotorua lakefront
Image credit: Girls listen to voices during a technical trial in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Australia