Through the time spiral: Te Muri I

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Still from Through the time spiral: Te Muri I (2021). HD video, 5 min.

Through the time spiral: Te Muri revisits camping trips my family made to a small bay on the Mahurangi Peninsula during the early 1900s. It is part of an ongoing series of work that seeks to meet my ancestors in the time spiral. Te Muri bay is only accessible by foot across a stream at low tide, and in this work, the tidal stream is imagined as the threshold to the time spiral. Drawing on my family’s archival material, I re-tell stories that were recorded by the campers as they pose for photographs in fields and on the beach.

My great-great-grandparents, Gustav and Louisa Kronfeld, made these trips over many summers with their children in tow. They were joined by family visiting from Sāmoa, girls in their care from the Islands, and other families who share similar stories of cultural multiplicity and mobility. Their photos illuminate an expansive web of relations across the Moana.

This work responds to the curators’ prompts through straddling thresholds of aliveness, morality and truth, and considers my nostalgic preoccupation with these camping trips on whenua my family does not belong to. It seems, in the end, that the best way to understand these thresholds is to look to the tide.

Commissioned by CIRCUIT for Mark Harvey & Layne Waerea’s This side or that side, or almost. Standing by