Tongariro Power – installation & publication

Tongariro Power installation, as part of Car, Cowlard, Nunes group show. Pearce Gallery October 2015

Tongariro Power installation, as part of Car, Cowlard, Nunes group show. Pearce Gallery October 2015

Tongariro Power was shot in 1970 for the NZ National Film Unit by Martin Barriball, and directed by Conon Fraser. This energetic and well-crafted film documents the immense feat of engineering and construction of the Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS), channeling hundreds of waterways from their existing trajectories into the tunnels and pipes that feed the hydro-electric dam systems. I have extracted many small moments from this film, allowing them to build into their own cinematic narratives and tropes, riffing on the Hollywood cowboy, B-grade sci-fi and Freudian subtexts.

The TPS was a large-scale project instigated by the Ministry of Works, taking several decades to be completed and employing many hundreds of local and international workers. Maori, Pakeha and Italian labour forces lived and worked onsite together to realize this triumph of engineering in the heart of Te Ika-A-Maui. The Scheme now provides 361MW of “clean” electricity into the National Grid. The existence of the scheme, and its bigger context as an iteration of Western attitudes to natural resources, has complex repercussions for the land and the local people.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys

Video, 1.40 mins. looped. ©2015

 

Tunnellers

Video, 1.25 mins. looped. ©2015

 

Tongariro Power

Artist book. ed. of 25. ©2015

Tongariro Power

Tongariro Power was shot in 1970 for the NZ National Film Unit by Martin Barriball, and directed by Conon Fraser. This energetic and well-crafted film documents the immense feat of engineering and construction of the Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS), channeling hundreds of waterways from their existing trajectories into the tunnels and pipes that feed the hydro-electric dam systems. I have extracted many small moments from this film, allowing them to build into their own cinematic narratives and tropes, riffing on the Hollywood cowboy, B-grade sci-fi and Freudian subtexts.

The TPS was a large-scale project instigated by the Ministry of Works, taking several decades to be completed and employing many hundreds of local and international workers. Maori, Pakeha and Italian labour forces lived and worked onsite together to realize this triumph of engineering in the heart of Te Ika-A-Maui. The Scheme now provides 361MW of “clean” electricity into the National Grid. The existence of the scheme, and its bigger context as an iteration of Western attitudes to natural resources, has complex repercussions for the land and the local people.