Elam School of Fine Arts staff and students pose challenging questions about how we engage with the world.

Elam staff and postgraduate students are nationally recognised leaders in research and research policy in the creative arts and industries.

They regularly present their research in New Zealand and abroad, in art galleries, at professional conventions and at prestigious events such as the Venice Biennale.

Joyce Campbell

The Many Layered Place: Evoking Te Taniwha of Ruakituri, Hanagaroa and Te Reinga

Joyce is working on the second stage of an ongoing research project that already exists as a series of photographic exhibitions. This new work adds a number of HD DVD interviews, transcriptions and edited texts as well as a supporting series of large format photographs and 16mm films to the project. The work aims to build an extensive narrative archive that secures for posterity a densely layered korero pertaining to two intersecting river valleys – Hangaroa and Ruakituri and their meeting place at Te Reinga in the Eastern Urewera.

Working in collaboration with the Ngai Kohatu historian and kaumatua, Richard Niania, Joyce is identifying knowledge holders, archiving oral accounts and pinpointing significant sites relevant to ancient supernatural events, customary practices and historical conflicts in these two valleys. In particular she is focussing on inherited accounts of the journeys of the prophet Te Kooti Akirangi Te Turuki and the birth (in his party) of the puhi, matriarch and orator Te Taniwha McRoberts, tracing their influence into the modern era. The work will be exhibited at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, with an accompanying symposium and the publication of a catalogue of essays.

Lisa Crowley

Revisiting Modernist ideas of thought and production

Lisa’s project is a case study of the production and dissemination of thought and politics through printed material. It explores how an icon of European architectural modernism, in this case Alvar Aalto’s Vyborg library in Finland, operates as a complex object that fosters the production of both ideologies and subjectivities. Aalto’s library has a particularly interesting history as it has been in Soviet and now Russian territory for much of its life.
Lisa’s exhibition at Te Tuhi, Auckland and her exhibition at Jensen Gallery, Sydney, form two halves of the project: her videos of the library in use, shown at Te Tuhi, will present the life of the library as a complex cultural object which functions as an idea; a machine for producing subjectivities; a functioning and elegant architectural site; and a model of socio-political forces. The Jensen Gallery images will evoke the processes of thought and feeling mediated by print culture.

Gavin Hipkins

Multiple Exposures: Jewellery and photography

Associate Head of School Gavin Hipkins and Karl Fritsch collaborate at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, in this groundbreaking exhibition.

The exhibition explores how contemporary jewellery artists transform and add new meaning to the pervasive images of this digital age.

Drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources, from historic daguerreotypes to manipulated digital images, international jewellery artists explore changing views of beauty and the human body; examine social, political, and cultural issues; probe perceptions of memory and desire; and question the broader relation of jewellery to society and personal identity, issues central to the contemporary experience.

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Dr Simon Ingram

Painting Machines 2005-2014

Simon Ingram’s first monograph surveys the artist’s work from 2007 to 2013. In three substantial essays and with a contribution by the artist, it explores how Ingram interrogates the act of painting – its supports, execution, composition, and exhibition – as a self-organising machine that is generated by living systems and electromagnetic energy.

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Dr Alex Monteith

Extreme Surfing Aotearoa

This project involves number of large-scale performance and video artworks with the participation of big-wave surfers, taking place over the winter storm seasons in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Alex is combining research on this cultural practice with new developments in the academic theories on performance art and video art.

Associate Professor Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson at the 13th Istanbul Biennial

The 13th Istanbul Biennial "Mom, am I barbarian?" took place from 14 September – 20 October 2013. Curated by Fulya Erdemci, the event borrowed its title from poet Lale Müldür’s book, with a focus on the theme of public space as a political forum.

The exhibitions aspired to open up a space to rethink the concept of "publicness" through art and elicit imagination and innovative thought to contribute to social engagement and discussion.

Peter Robinson's work Ruses and Legacies, exhibited at one of the five biennial venues, the former Galata Greek Primary School, addressed the concept of the exhibition through a sculpturally abstract language whereby viewers could experience transitions in consciousness: from feeling secure to feeling anxious, for example, or moving from a sense of disorder to a sense of appropriate structure in their relationship to the public space.