Tag Archives: Aotearoa

Exploring Christchurch

My journey to Christchurch to work on a book project is my first time travelling to the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Although I have been to NZ a few times over the last decade, I have never ventured any further south than the region of Taranaki.

Christchurch, as many readers would know, was devastated by an earthquake in February 2011. It has been a difficult and expensive process to rebuild the city and although a lot of progress has happened, many heritage buildings may never be restored just because of the sheer cost.

Today I spent the day walking around the city centre and also rode the inner city tram which was a really nice way to learn about Christchurch. It is a little pricy at $20NZ, but you can hop on and off all day. The drivers also share a lot of local knowledge so I think it is worth the money.

There are some fabulous places to visit when in Christchurch. I had a great time exploring the Re:START markets. The market stalls are mainly set up in shipping containers and the area was the first to be reopened after the 2011 earthquake. There are some great shops with lots of local products. My favourite shop has to be HAPA – I just love all the handmade jewellery, ornaments, cushions and knick knacks. Unfortunately my budget is very tight this trip so no spending sadly though perhaps this is a blessing in disguise 🙂

The other place I enjoyed visiting is the Canterbury Museum, which is free entry and open 7 days a week. There are some great exhibits, including a replica of the street from the early 1900s. It is also worth noting that the museum is located close to the Botanic Gardens which is a lovely  place to walk around.

Street art is in abundance in the city centre, making the cityscape lively and colourful. It is also a nice distraction from the many damaged buildings and empty city blocks.

It will take a long time for Christchurch to rebuild entirely, but what I find inspiring is that the residents of Christchurch are helping to shape the future of the city. For example, many people love the shipping containers at Re:START, so they may become a permanent fixture. Also the community has asked that the city’s skyline have less high-rises in the future, so the only high-rise buildings that will exist into the future are the ones currently standing.

There are some great art and technology projects that have focused on the city:

  • Soundsky: Artist/designer Trudy Lane and sound artist/musician/developer Halsey Burgund have been the main coordinators of the project to-date with significant input from Michael Reynolds of A Brave New City, and increasing numbers of local artists interested for their audio works to join the environment.
  • Sensing City: The Sensing City Trust is a non-profit organisation working with Christchurch stakeholders to help them understand how data can inform decisions about city management. The Trust has two active projects – one focussed on the impact of air pollution on respiratory disease, and the other on cyclists generating data to inform cycleway development.
  • SCAPE Public Art installs free-to-view contemporary public art in Christchurch city. Their vision is for Christchurch people to be excited, engaged and stimulated by the contemporary public art that is well-regarded and known by the national and international art world.

 

This evening as I write this post a small shake has been recorded south of Christchurch – though only 2.4 magnitude. I did not notice anything 🙂 In any case, I am very much looking forward to working on the ADA book project and learning all about booksprinting!

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Cultura21 Eco Island, Dragør, Denmark

New AR work in development, which explores Dragør, Amager in Copenhagen.

Tracey M Benson

Walking Backwards into the Future
Augmented Reality in Copenhagen, by Tracey Benson

Proposal for Mapping Amager and Sharing Copenhagen: AR guided tour and presentation

Walking backwards to find the future combines a guided walk around the island of Amager with the use of augmented reality. This work has been created by Australian based media artist Tracey Benson to explore the transect sites of Dragør, Amager as a potential tourist. This work seeks to build knowledge of the location from afar – past journeys and memories, present events, spaces, places and histories. The work would be ready for use by participants at the Dragør/Tårnby transect and formally presented at the Eco Creative Camp by the artist.

Tracey has developed a number of augmented reality works which focus on walking and local discovery, with the most recent project Finding the Ghosts of K Road being presented as part of ADA Mesh Cities…

View original post 155 more words

365 Places: St Kevin’s Arcade

Day 89: St Kevin’s Arcade, Auckland, Aotearoa NZ

Today was our first day exploring K Road, the site of my latest Augmented Reality project: Finding the Ghosts of K Road. We met up with K Road historian, Edward Bennett, who has generously shared with us much of the local history of this part of Auckland.

We had coffee at Alleluya, a wonderful coffee shop in St Kevin’s Arcade. St Kevin’s is a lovely 1920s arcade with many of the original shop fronts, complete with lead lighting windows, which feature lots of fab recycled fashion and secondhand goodies.

St Kevens : Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 370-9315
St Kevens : Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 370-9315

St Kevin’s was originally the site of a mansion which was the home of Lawrence David Nathan. Here is some of the history of the original site as documented on the K Road website:

In 1845 the merchant David Nathan built a house for himself on the Karangahape ridge with a view of the fledgling town of Auckland (which at that time extended no further than about Victoria Street)…In 1916 the Nathan family gave a 20ft right of way along the eastern boundary of their St.Kevens property to serve as the entrance to Myers Park from Karangahape Road.
The Nathans were possibly already contemplating moving from their house, as indeed they did around 1918. Their house, St Kevens, was demolished around 1922 and as a result of their gift part of the site was redeveloped as St Kevin’s Arcade in 1924.

St Kevens certainly was an impressive building and the image of the dining room shows the elegant life that the Nathan family had in this house.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 370-9300
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 370-9300

It is really exciting to be finally discovering these places in the flash, rather than through old photographs and Google Street View. After our coffee, Edward took us for a walk around some of the places that are explored in Finding the ghosts of K Road. I feel like I have only just scraped the surface of this fascinating place in my project and hope to learn more over the coming days.

The Tour: Finding the Ghosts of K Road

About Tracey’s latest Augmented Reality project being presented in Auckland next week

Tracey M Benson

This article documents the waypoints of the tour of Karangahape Road titled Finding the Ghosts of K Road being presented as part of the ADA Mesh Cities Symposium in Auckland in September 2014.

You don’t have to be in Auckland to experience this work. You can also use the app with the landmark building images in this blog post.

*Note: This work is still in progress – any feedback would be welcomed.

Technical specifications

Finding the Ghosts of K Road uses augmented reality, and to view it you must have an internet enabled mobile device running iOS
or Android (tablet or smartphone). You must also have the “Aurasma” app installed.
To install Aurasma:


  • Search for and download the “Aurasma” app in Google Play or the Apple App Store.
  • 
Launch the app, click on the “A” symbol at the bottom of the screen, then click on the
magnifying glass icon.
  • In the search…

View original post 529 more words

365 Places: Karangahape Road

Day 88: Karangahape Road, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

In an earlier post, I spoke about a forthcoming augmented reality project that I will be presenting as part of the ADA Mesh Cities Symposium in Auckland. The project titled Finding the Ghosts of K Road will explore Auckland’s oldest street, hopefully uncovering some of the ghosts of the past though the imagery of the old photographs of the streetscape.

Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606
Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606

Something that has been really wonderful about developing this project is the help and support I have received from some of my artist friends, who have generously shared stories about K Road. For example, Trudy Lane shared some very interesting information about some of her ancestors who lived in the area. The story below is very sad about the loss of a number of her ancestors. Trudy writes:

My Great Great Grandfather — Captain William Solloway Lane — died at sea in 1893, failing to return from a voyage to Tasmania. With him on board was his wife Lucy’s sister-in-law and her youngest sister. She was pregnant with twins at the time. 3 days after giving birth to them, Lucy died. One of the twins also died two days later.
Captain William Solloway Lane, died April 1893
Christina, born 11 April, 1893
Lucy Lane, died 12 April, 1893

In the material she sent me was a story of how this tragedy impacted the then small community of Auckland. I have transcribed this text from the images below:

This sad chronicle so moved everyone in the then small town of Auckland that people lined the streets from Ponsonby to Symonds Streets as the funeral cortege for Lucy Chiffinch Lane and her baby passed by.

Here are the images from Trudy.

Trudy also informed me about the work of historian Edward Bennett, who has done extensive research on K Road. I have subsequently been in touch with Edward and he has been a great source of guidance for the walk, and hopefully will be our tour guide on the day!

The walk is scheduled for the 12th September and will start at Artspace in Karangahape Road at 15:15.

Here is the map – in progress:

I am really grateful for being guided by the experts for this project, people who have an intimate knowledge of K Road. It really helps me to get a better sense of the place I am exploring, which I hope will result in a richer experience for people doing the walk.

It is not long until we will be in Auckland for the Symposium – can’t wait!

References
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=HNS18930412.2.18&srpos=7&e=——-10–1—-0captain+lane–

365 Places: Dunedin

Day 78: Dunedin, Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Today I am posting about a place I hope to go to one day soon. I have not yet travelled to the South Island of Aotearoa and it is high on my list as I have travelled to the North Island twice and have made some good friendships with some wonderful people there.

Dunedin pano from signal hillCC BY-SA 3.0 Deanpemberton
Dunedin pano from signal hillCC BY-SA 3.0
Deanpemberton

Although I have never travelled to Dunedin, last year I produced an augmented reality ‘walk’ around town for an arts event. The art project revealed buildings that had been demolished for significantly changed over the years. The project titled Walks of Absent Memory was featured as part of the ADA Mesh Cities Symposium in Dunedin. ADA stands for Aotearoa Digital Arts Network and I am really excited to be a part of ADA Mesh Cities again this year in Auckland – but more about that in another post.

When I was developing the work for the project in Dunedin, I spent a lot of time looking at the town through old photographs and Google Street View. It was fun to develop an understanding of a place remotely as my perception was shaped only through what I had read and seen online.

67-69 Princes Street Dresden Building (Capitol Building)
67-69 Princes Street
Dresden Building (Capitol Building)

Some of the things I learnt about Dunedin include that it was the most populous city until 1900 and the largest territorially until 2010, when it was superseded by Auckland. Dunedin is also the second-largest city in the South Island and the principal city of the Otago Region. Although Dunedin is only the seventh largest city in Aotearoa, it is still considered to be one of the four main cities of NZ for historic, cultural, and geographic reasons.

I also learnt it is a very pretty place with nice beaches a lovely harbour and numerous historic buildings. It was also well-known as a university town and has a thriving arts community and some excellent galleries including the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Undoubtably Dunedin is a place I want to visit. I hope to one day go to Aotearoa and have the time to travel around and explore this beautiful country. The bits I have seen so far are just stunning and I am keen to learn more about this magical place.

Note: In this post and in future posts I will more commonly call New Zealand by its Maori name Aotearoa, though sometimes I will just use the initials NZ as an abbreviation.

Support Artists for Water and Peace: SCANZ 2015

SCANZ2015:water*peace brings together tangata whenua, artists, scientists, and technologists with the local communities of Parihaka and Nga Motu New Plymouth, for a two week three weekend residency. It includes short term exhibition of works along the Huatoki Stream walkway, public activity day, night time video projections and a walking symposium.

The project begins on the 18th and 19th of January at Parihaka, days when the inspirational prophets of peace, Te Whiti and Tohu are celebrated.

The SCANZ 2015 crowdfunding campaign on Boosted has started. Please consider waltzing over and making a pledge. If we don’t make it to $3000, you don’t have to hand over the money. Every bit helps.

http://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/scanz-2015waterpeace

The tinyurl is http://tinyurl.com/supportwaterpeace

My first experience of SCANZ was in 2013 and I can honestly say it is the best residency program I have ever participated in: my eyes and heart were opened wide to possibility. I found it was also a call to action to not only consider environmental issues and connections across humanity, but to work towards creating awareness and positive change. Since then I have continued my connection with Intercreate.org (the organisation who put this event together) and feel very privileged to be a part of this community.

It is a very worthwhile project and every donation is greatly appreciated!