D I O N
H I T C H E N S
My initial interest in Kinetic Art was to use motion to instigate change and to create surprise. I did this by combining older material technology, natural materials with motion sensors and programmable controllers. I believe that art isn’t complete without an audience. This is what has lead me to the employment of interactive sensors. Recently however I have been working with birds that move in the wind, with a desire to make them fly in a way which makes them feel free.
Title: Te Wao Nui A Tane,
Collection: Auckland City Art Gallery.
Materials: kohatu (stone), stainless steel, weeping willow, electronics.
Scale: 2.4 meters H, 2 meters W, 2 meters D.
Te Wao Nui A Tane translates as the large world of Tane, the god of the forests. His world is vast and expansive,
providing us with plenty of food and resources. This particular plant was brought over during the early colonising process. It grows like a weed over here, clogging the water ways and wet lands.
The willow being a tree, still sits in the domain of Tane,
the god of the forests.
Te Wao Nui A Tane is made from weeping willow, woven around a stainless steel frame. It is interactive, using a motion sensor to trigger movement.
The audience makes assumptions of the work, based on the woven material technology. The electronics move the forms at one revolution per minute, triggered by people walking
between the forms.
The stainless steel amplifies the sound of the
mirror ball motors.
Title: Into the Middle
Location: Pacific Biennale Noumea.
Materials: corten steel, oil, supple jack, electronics.
Scale: 2.4 meters H, 2 meters W, 2 meters D.
The idea of 'Into the Middle' was about being
in between two cultures, Maori and Chinese. The Yin and Yang shapes are combined with the woven supple jack forms.
'Into the Middle' was made for the Pacific Biennale, Noumea in 2000. It was held at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in
New Caledonia. The audience makes assumptions of the work based on the woven material technology.
original installation, you could walk between the two forms. When you did, you would trigger a motion sensor that would move the upright form. It would move awkwardly
rocking as it turned, reflecting the sometimes awkward
positon of being between two cultures
Title: From Iron Bird
Collection: Te Papa O Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.
Materials: fibre glass, steel, electronics, car paint.
Scale: 1.4 meters H, 1.4 meters W, 2.4 meters L.
From Iron Bird was inspired by reading Iron Master, one of the Amtrack Wars, a series written in a
post-apocalyptic world by Patrick Tilley. The title comes
directly from a line in the book which references a time when the Iron Birds ruled the skies. I remember having the idea for the work as a response to visiting the Urewera National Park, my Turangawaewae (the place of my ancestors). The
whenua (land) there made me feel very emotional, especially as I walked across it for the first time. I thought about growing up in Mangere. I grew up with concrete trees
and ‘Iron Birds’ - Auckland International Airport
was just down the road.
This work has a few surprises. The audience triggers a
motion sensor which turns on a mechanism inside the form. Inside is a metal frame which houses a wiper motor, which powers a pendulum. It swings, moving the form and then eventually gongs. The form itself is inspired from kowhaiwhai design (Maori repeating patterns) and is often found in the guideline structures that allow someone to carve or paint the patterns. I have then simply extruded these once
two dimensional curves into a three dimensional form.
Location: Waiheke. New Zealand Headland
Sculpture on the Gulf.
Materials: Alluminium, steel stainless steel, automotive paint
Scale: 3000mm H
Kotuku -The Rare and Precious White Heron.
The Kotuku came from the heavens, the pet of Io-matua-kore. In one story, it guides Tane or Maaui to the 12th heaven to seek the baskets of knowledge. The Poutama pattern inside the waka references the stairway to the heavens.
The Kotuku is a solitary bird. It spends most of its time alone, just coming together once a year to breed. The population was decimated at the turn of the 20th century. Its plumage used to decorate ladies’ hats. On the brink of extinction, a handful of dedicated people nursed the population back to a healthy 150 breeding pairs.
Part of the Headland Event
Like us, the Kotuku lives off the ocean. The ocean and its
resources are finite. We should learn to manage them with great care and respect. We shouldn't drop plastic, it can end up in the ocean contaminating our food chain. Remember a little effort can go a long way towards making positive change for our environment.
Transcending Origins is a short animation which combines origin stories. It explores a philosophy where the environment itself is the main character. I was specifically looking at
animation from a Maori world veiw. I have made the bush pulse, like it is breathing. All the characters come from the
environment, from Ranginui (Sky Father) and
Papatuanuku (Earth Mother).