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Monday
Feb132012

The Good Public

What do artists, community leaders, innovators, homemakers, and free thinkers have in common?

Answer: They are all often at some time classified by the government as unemployed or not in full-time employment - and have to deal with the stigma, and bureaucracy, these terms invoke. 

They are all, however, ‘productive bodies’. Be that the fundamental productivity of giving birth to future generations and raising them, providing the glue that holds communities together through organising or participating in events and groups, helping those less fortunate, or innovators changing the way we think about the world.

I thought a lot about this when Sophie Jerram and I (as public art programme Letting Space) were working with Tao Wells on the development of his project The Beneficiary’s Office. That work in turn has inspired Mark Harvey to create Productive Bodies, a group performance work we are producing March 12-16 in City Gallery Wellington and the streets of Wellington.

Looking around at my friends and neighbourhood, I realised that so many people I knew not in full-time employment were doing work for the ‘public good’. They juggle the search for work with community and creative work that feeds them, and in turn us.

For Productive Bodies we are gathering together people for information evenings on Wednesday February 22 and 29 (8pm, Toi Poneke, 61-69 Abel Smith Street, Wellington).  All are welcome: artists, those between jobs and redundant civil servants - we will talk with Mark Harvey about our experiences. If you identify with any of what I talk about above, we’d really love to see you there.

Why do we mention redundant civil servants? Putting aside for the moment that we have seen thousands made redundant in Wellington in the last two years, and that the public service is such a significant part of Wellington’s urban landscape, the civil service is the infrastructure and administration that allows everyone else to scurry around being productive.

The work of a public servant has been often driven by a sense of doing public good. To be relieved of such a post must be for many difficult. This is a fragile time. You are less likely to consider yourself ‘unemployed’ as ‘between jobs’, ‘looking for the best offer’, ‘working on contract’, or ‘taking a break’ (as Tao encouraged people to consider).

Vulnerability is heightened by the fact that of all classes of workers public servants may have held some sort of job security. The public service may now be full of short term contracts but it’s arguably still a different ballgame to the self-made entrepreneur, freelance writer or artist, for whom there has never been a sense of a secure future.

With this work Mark Harvey and Letting Space wants to involve a rich mix of people who have different ideas of what job security, productivity and ‘community service’ mean. Community Service is the name of the series our current Letting Space projects are all running under. Should civil and community service be treated so different?

We all serve. We are all productive bodies in having and raising children, bringing our communities together, advocating for change and experimenting with different ways of doing things. Artists meanwhile need to be better publicly recognised as not isolated self-interested cells but vital contributors – change agents. Many of the great projects of our country have come from people who have had the time to re-imagine and reinvent beyond being worker bees. 

We are not alone in thinking this way. We’re also looking forward to bringing together with Mark as part of the project academic and former MP Marilyn Waring and economist Susan Guthrie for a discussion at the Arts Festival Club during the week of the performances. Guthrie has worked a lot in new thinking around issues of income inequality and productivity. Waring is a highly regarded and generous thinker and gifted communicator on looking at alternative economic models for valuing GDP and people’s productive work.

In a recent interview from Canada I read with Waring this weekend she makes direct links between civil and unpaid community service.

“In the mainstream, any movement has always been toward the "market." That is, there continues to be the assumption that the only way in which work can be visible or valuable is if you treat it as if it were a market commodity or a market service and you attribute a value to it. That approach is anathema to me. As somebody on the front line of making policy, the information I need is what women do with their time.

“I can give you a very good example. In Alberta, you've gone through a rough period where government services have been cut and the responsibility for continuing to carry out a lot of services hasn't devolved to the private sector, but to the "community." We know that "community" is usually mom or daughter or aunty or neighbour or some other woman who already works 16 to 18 hours a day. Sometimes she's in the paid work force; sometimes not.

“There's been no investigation in Alberta into whether quality care or quality servicing can go on in this devolution. There's no investigation about the training or the time available to these people. They are just supposed to take over. The most important question is not what is the value of the work they are doing, but do they have time to do it? What inputs do they need to be able to do the work adequately?”

We’d love as many people as possible to join us on what should be a very interesting and fun journey. See you on February 22 or 29 if you’re keen.

To register or ask questions give us a bell at productivebodies@gmail.com.

Mark Amery

Thursday
Dec152011

Where have all the public servants gone?  

In the latest Letting Space art project, Productive Bodies, artist Mark Harvey is calling for redundant public servants, beneficiaries and people who work in the arts to participate in a performance work during the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in March next year.

“We are particularly interested in working with people who have been laid off from the government sector, people who work in the arts, and people who feel vulnerable in their employment in the current economic and political climate,” says Harvey. 

This work follows that of an earlier Letting Space project, Tao Wells’ The Beneficiary’s Office which caused controversy in late 2010. “On the one handProductive Bodies is a response to Tao’s work but moreover it responds to the political conditions facing government employees, beneficiaries and artists. We’re asking ‘What does it mean for these people to be valued and useful?’”, says Harvey.

Both artists and government employees face threats during this current political period.  As the Dominion Post has reported, over 900 civil servants have lost jobs in Wellington in the past 12 months and more redundancies are expected. 

Harvey expects the performance of Productive Bodies to be physical and playful. “This will be a fun, collective experience and provide some exercise,” he says. People willing to participate in the performance over the week 12-16 March 2012 should contact sophiejerramandmarkamery@gmail.com

Productive Bodies is being produced with assistance from Creative New Zealand and in association with City Gallery Wellington. For further information on the project go to http://www.lettingspace.org.nz/productive-bodies 

For more information, contact Mark Amery 027 3566 128 or Sophie Jerram 029 9349749

Monday
Dec052011

Where We're At

In October Letting Space spoke at Where Art Belongs? a symposium at Massey University. It was a great opportunity for us to mull on where we’re at and where we’re going, ahead of diving into new projects. Thanks to Gradon Diprose (whose PhD in train is on art and social activism) we have a transcript. We provide an edited record here of us: Letting Space, late 2011. This was the first part of our presentation.

Mark:

I often have a phrase from  a pop song in my head, riffing constantly - as probably many of us do. Last night it was that line at the end of Guns and Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ which goes: ‘Where do we go? Where do we go?’. It popped into my head after last night’s opening talks. But what I then learned - Facebook grazing through some website about the genesis of  “songs that were never meant to be songs” – that it was never meant to be. Jamming the new song, the band got to the end of what they had devised and Axl Rose literally didn’t know where they should go next. Vocalising this predicament, ‘where do we go’ became a spoken refrain.

After Chris Kraus’s presentation last night - about the 18 month life of famed LA artist-run space Tiny Creatures - it reminded me that, when you start something you often don’t really know where you’re going. You don’t have a strategic plan. We’re trying to be business minded and all that, but Sophie and I initially really just came together and started working. Beyond some initial clear mandates, our way of doing things evolved through doing projects - over the last 18 months.

It’s really lovely that Caterina, the new Artspace Director is here because Sophie and I were both involved in Artspace in the early ‘90s. Artspace was a very different organisation to what it is now. In a sense it was a bit like Tiny Creatures and the current Artspace having a bit of a fight: it was a community space, and it was a space where curators were coming in and trying to assert what was going on. That period was very interesting. Teststrip started in Vulcan Lane, and the artists-run space model went one way, Artspace the other.

Sophie and I were both really interested in intermedia, both engaged in the performing arts as well, and we were involved in setting up a programme outside of the gallery space called Letting Space - about half a dozen arts projects around town in vacant property which responded to that current recession. It was alot more hands off - in fact we basically left town during that programme, independent of each other moving to Wellington.

It was only really only a couple of years ago that we turned around to each other and said “the recession is happening again”. We re-connected personally and professionally and Letting Space as it is today was born.

Thinking about talking today we were both rather provoked by the title of this symposium: ‘where art belongs’. If you were to ask a lot of people how they would describe Letting Space, they’d probably say “Oh those are those guys that do things in vacant commercial properties”. That gets our backs up a little bit - even though its absolutely understandable - because we’re more interested in how art is sited, not where. Art not as exhibition in an exhibition space, but how art can integrate as part of the social fabric. How it can play a part in life, as a way of testing ideas and provoking and enabling change. The gallery model is a really important laboratory - but we’re really interested in how we can activate the potential of artists and empower them to work very much as part of the whole fabric of things.  

Sophie:

I’m entirely with Mark on that. We have come together as curators who want to help make the best of an artist’s practice and to frame that work for the best for an audience. We’re constantly thinking about the audience and about the public, and in New Zealand the art audience can be kind of small. We’ve felt it’s even more important to be reaching into the public with this series.

Originally back in 1993 it was part of our agenda that we wanted to put art on the streets. We sensed that art had slid towards a kind of a clique. So I was interested in this talk about ‘where art belongs’ too, because although obviously the title of today’s symposium came from the title of Chris Kraus’ great new book, the idea of using this as a symposium title was really interesting.

Where does art belong? Well, I don’t think art comes knocking at the door to ask permission. Art doesn’t say, ‘excuse me, can I sit here?’ I feel like the question is maybe  ‘where do I belong?’ or ‘where I as an artist or a curator belong?’ I think it belongs within the framework in which we live.

We’ll talk later about the likes of Creative Time, which is a movement in New York which has been running since 1974. Their latest symposium was called ‘living as form’. It wasn’t art as form, it was living as form because living is the framework art should be sitting within.

I suppose I’d like to invert - in the well-honed tradition of a symposium - the question, and ask not where does art belong but ‘what belongs in art?’ For me that’s everything. For us the utility of art and the importance of pushing boundaries is really important. To keep going outwards to the society. We’re facing some huge crisis in terms of economics and the environment. We know that. We see that artists have the edge and that’s a framework Letting Space still works from.

Mark:

The word ‘independent’ comes up with Letting Space. I remember being in a discussion at Enjoy gallery and Ann Shelton was asking whether we’re an ‘institution’ or not. That’s a really interesting question. We’ve both worked in public galleries and we know the university environment, but essentially we’re not from either. We’re not on salaries. We’ve largely stayed as people outside of it and independent of it - I mean I’ve worked a lot as an art critic. We’ve relished the fact that we are independent. We don’t have any boxes to fight against.

When Heather Galbraith suggested for this talk we think about work in New Zealand that inspired us, most of it was in the gallery. Most of it was talking to the gallery, hammering against the walls. And we were kind of going, “well, we’re not actually in the gallery and don’t want to be, nor see that artists necessarily always want to work in this frame.” Our freedom and our joy is the belief that we can work with artists who are interested not just in their ideas being in an artist run space or just in a gallery. They too are engaged with the idea that their art can be just as complex and rich and not lost out in the world.

I think we often have a great tension working as two people between the works political intent and its artistic efficacy. That it has to be about social change, but also be good art. Which is to say, the shape of it. It’s not just about the placard or the banner and how loud you can be. It’s recognising that really great art historical moments have had a political charge. They have been relevant. They’re not just about aesthetics. So for us its a marriage between political intent and a project’s strength aesthetically, or whatever that’s going on there. That’s a really interesting tension for us in the development of projects.

Thursday
Oct272011

Call for art works for the Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST SOUGHT

FROM: ARTISTS AND OTHER PARTNERS

FOR: THE TRANSITIONAL ECONOMIC ZONE OF AOTEAROA (TEZA)

as part of ISEA, the 18th International Symposium of Electronic Art

Santa Fe, New Mexico September 19-October 20, 2012

With the US empire on its knees, now is the time for the rat to chew at the guy ropes of North American hegemony.

We are inviting artists, scientists and commercial partners to contribute to the Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa (TEZA).  Please send initial concepts for the TEZA or any questions by November 10 to sophiejerramandmarkamery@gmail.com

Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery

Letting Space, Wellington New Zealand October 2011

 

Background

Since the 1980s, throughout Africa, India, South East and Central Asia, economic activity has been generated by governments through the establishment of Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, and Temporary Zones (all broadly called Special Economic Zones). Usually these zones are managed by the host country to expedite entry by companies from resource hungry and cash rich countries (eg China, Taiwan, Israel). Conducting business in a SEZ usually means that a company will receive tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs. Sometimes these zones are also exempt from local environmental and human rights obligations.


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For ISEA 2012, The Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa, bounded by questionable territorial lines, is around 8000 square metres (three acres) of an area of the desert near Santa Fe. New Zealanders are highly experienced at making camp and, much like a tent city found in war zones or refugee camps, the TEZA is quick to assemble and has a makeshift, transitory feel to it. We may employ the assistance of the NZ army or an army of temporary workers from New Zealand companies in the region to construct the site. The kiwi ‘can do’ attitude and recent opening of sea beds to oil prospecting shows that a small nation in the South Pacific might also become a fast moving, exploitative and hungry predator. Marketing of the TEZA via digital and mainstream media channels however will indicate that this Special Economic Zone is very different from the SEZs of Zambia or Myanmar.

The TEZA is, at first approach and by most appearances, another SEZ managed for economic gain through the resources that are assumed to be trapped under the soil. The apparent narrative may be that with New Zealand’s interest in photo voltaics (leading to solar power) but lack of silicon, silica is the resource presumed to feed the TEZA ‘power base’ (what appears to be a private/public syndicate of iwi, corporate and government interests).  

However, upon exploration, visitors to TEZA discover a far more generous world: one interested in the sustainable exchange of ideas and resources for the betterment of the planet, rather than one which is hungry and exploitative. From a distance TEZA may call to mind all the negative connotations of contemporary refugee detention centres or zones of resource extraction run by major corporates. Yet on encounter it will prove equally to be reminiscent of the village feel of major festivals. However, rather than the principal goal of these festival businesses to provide entertainment, TEZA will push their community models to the fore in inviting artists and scientists to work for the benefit of all participants and the local community, within which it is a temporary resident.  

 

TEZA Aesthetics

 On approach the TEZA visually resembles a POW camp, bordered by flags, signs and temporary structures. Whilst welcoming most applicants, like any territory there are border controls and bureacractic procedures all immigrants to The TEZA need to undergo. The entry point will involve other forms of welcome. 

Our hosts: friendly strong young men and women dressed in highlighter jackets and hard hats, greeting visitors with a big ‘kia ora’ – and welcomed with dignity.

Inside the fence visitors are able to explore a range of areas of ‘the Zone’ e.g. a learning zone, an entertainment stage, activity areas, a meditative space, and working groups looking at purifying water or sorting sand. This is a happy village. 

Part of the exciting tension about developing the project is the enquiry into land rights, occupation, and indigenous peoples and the way cultural protocol will operate.

  

The principles of TEZA:

  1. We intend to leave New Mexico having contributed more than we have taken - whether through exchange between Aotearoa peoples and first nations people in the area, through the gift of New Zealand flora, the gift of intellectual property, or other social relationships. Positive impact on communities in New Mexico is integral to the project. 
  2. The TEZA is a society driven by matriarchal values, teaching respect for the land and responding to what we have learnt from it.
  3. Whilst utopian at one level, the TEZA genuinely seeks to join the local knowledge from the Santa Fe region with knowledge from Aotearoa. The experience in Aotearoa of establishing relationships of reciprocity, and the lessons learnt from the repression/denial of people’s sovereignity, will be brought to the zone and the land, alongside a spirit of generosity and fun.

Artistic, scientific, cultural and traditional knowledge solutions are sought in the following physical areas for the TEZA

Energy/Power:

A supplier of extensive solar Photo Voltaics is being sought for powering the motors of the site. Work that explores sustainability R&D is also sought. 

Technology:

Expressions of interest from artists and scientists (or artists and scientists in collaboration) to present artwork, experiments or technology that further the aims of the TEZA are now being  sought. 

Boundaries:

Visas - working and visitor visas will be required 

Security machines for ‘roving’ the perimeter fence and airspace.

Procedures and ceremony for first approaches, and then social encounters will be needed.

Expressions of interest in contributions to the boundary and physical set-up of TEZA are welcomed.

 

Recreation:

Music, games and activities will play an important part in establishing relationships.

Digital and physical games and activities which reward and enhance co-operative principles are sought.

Musical and other performing arts are also sought.

 

Faith:

A meditation and interfaith zone will be erected inside one of the tents.

Plans for digital Maori po whenua are already in place in eight key points around the boundary

Maori cosmological talks relating to astronomical viewing will also be provided.

Other expressions are now welcomed.

 

Food:

A canteen environment is required - a group of people to run this and projects around food and ritual and hospitality are welcome.

 

Transport:

Buses from Santa Fe or elsewhere will come and visit at prescribed limited times when TEZA can be fully operational.

Ideas involving methods of induction into the site during transport are welcomed.   

 

Documentation and public relations:

We welcome digital electronic contributions possible from NZ and elsewhere to the TEZAs web presence which, depending on contributions, could be a very significant aspect of this project.

 

Knowledge and partnership:

Partnership with NZ government departments, and private providers happy to acknowledge TEZA principles are sought in conjunction with this project.

At present all artists and scientists will need to find funding and accommodation for participation in TEZA. Residencies may be available for some of our workers at Santa Fe and Alburqueque institutions.

 

Contact: 

Sophie Jerram, on behalf of Letting Space

www.lettingspace.org.nz

(Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery), in conjunction with Te Urutahi Waikerepuru from Taranaki and James Charlton at AUT 

Please send initial concepts for the TEZA or any questions by November 10 to sophiejerram@paradise.net.nz

 

pastedGraphic_2.pdf

Further background comment from Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram

Globalisation has seen the way Aotearoa New Zealand operates internationally change radically in recent years – culturally, politically, economically.  From Fonterra in China to giant rugby balls in Paris to refugee detention centres in the Pacific to pianos in Venice, the way we operate territorially in terms of interaction, marketing, and distribution with other partners and likeminded communities has been transformed and is full of tensions. Likewise the way government and iwi operate territorially in public/private partnerships has seen shifts in the way we exercise our values and utilise ours and others resources.  

Welcome to an art project that takes New Zealand creativity and an ability to collaborate in developing cultural and scientific exchange to a new conceptual level. Testing out charged issues of sovereignty and intellectual property internationally, the TEZA stakes out our own territory and branded zone in the rich New Mexican desert.   

From Sophie Jerram:

I have long been interested in our attempts at creating difference and managing boundaries. I see this work as a curatorial extension of my practice in this area, which first began with Tawharanui Open Sanctuary in 2010.  For this summer residency I made a short animated film and installation called the Mud People of Tawharanui which dealt with the attempts to define cultural and physical zones and maintain them. 

The following from the Santa Fe residency application for ISEA 2011 is also highly relevant: 

“When an object or system stops performing its assigned function in contemporary society, we tend to replace it rather than repair it. However, artists redefine useless as useful by creating a new life for objects, and that renewed life alters the role of these objects entirely. Artists work similar magic with degraded landscapes, blighted neighborhoods and other systems, infusing them with new purpose and expanding the potential for positive change.”

 

ENDS.

Thursday
Sep082011

Tom Cruise is not eligible to go to Mars

This was one of the decisions made in Room 11 at Wellington's Lyall Bay Primary School when they recently studied Bronwyn Holloway-Smith's Pioneer City, and did their own assignments on projecting urban life on Mars.

Here are some of the amazing results as documented on Bronwyn's website: http://bronwyn.co.nz/2011/09/08/pioneer-city-at-room-11/

You can also find out who else is out - and in - for life on Mars.

Wednesday
Aug032011

Dragons and Turtles

We've got that after-event fizz following the Urban Dream Brokerage on Friday night.  It must be the sign of a timely event that when you look back it appears like a no-brainer of an idea. Artists, suggest your ideas to the property sector.  Property owners, come up with creative ideas for the city. With Wellington City Council keen to get the engagement around the City’s 2040 strategy we were ready to go.   

It’s 18 months since we launched our first series and this website and during this time we’ve held two ‘Urban Dream Brokerages’ (not to mention the matter of seven public art projects). The huge difference between the first and the second was the level of intrigue and interest from the property sector in attending the event. Whether it’s because 15 months’ more recession has created an appetite for alternative uses of commercial space or whether Letting Space has got more traction over this time we’re not sure but the deals were much closer to being secured this time around. 

About 200 attended our ‘Dragons Den’ on Friday night. Councillor Ray Ahipene Mercer gave a generous mihi and we passed over to MC Mark Westerby who with groups like Cuba Creative and theatre shows like Apollo 13: Mission Control is constantly thinking outside the square as a creative producer. Here he is with our 'hooter'.

 

First up were four selected artist pitchers (bios on the artists can be found in our last blog). Tim Barlow’s Fearless Speech Lane reinvents speaker corner as a place for curated free expression complete with political food stalls, a take on Dalai Llamas famed gardens and a digital lounge below the State Opera House. 

Bruce Mahlaski and Bev Hong envisage a time when land will be exchanged for goods, recalling the reverse when The Wellington Company sailed into town and gave goods to Maori in exchange for their land. It's an idea that brings Wellington’s past, present and future into a vacant commercial space. 

James R Ford appeared dressed in a Ninja Turtle Costume (Donatello to be precise) with a proposition to express the Higgs Boson particle through the placement of 16 turtles (representing the 16 elements of the particle) on turf in a glass fronted Wellington shop space. 

Finally Shona Jaunas on violin and Natalia Mann on harp looked to the beneficial laws of France, which allow artists to take over vacant spaces and not be evicted over winter as an introduction to their concept for artists to capture and create sound and visual projections that are brought together as a harmonious whole in a vacant shopfront. Jaunas and Mann won the popular vote from the audience for most promising on the night, taking away a koha kitty of $189.

Next up were our property visionaries, who had provided questions and feedback to our artist pitchers, ranging from enthusiasm to almost disbelief.

 

Mark Westerby then unveiled our artists panel- Heather Galbraith, Eve Armstrong and Rob McLeod - who would help turn the tables on our property critics.

Chris Gollins of Colliers (who has just brokered the deal on the “sale of the Century Hotel” ) got a lot of respect (and the award for catchiest title) for his pitch ‘Tour de Foyers,’ suggesting a scheme property owners work harder on the art in the building’s foyers, and not just pretty pictures. Liz Mellish came with a bundle of thoughts: the first the very real put out to artists to contribute to the revitalization of the space that holds remnants of the original Te Aro Pa in Taranaki Street, the second the revisiting of graffiti as an artistic expression in the City and the third, the revitalisation of dendroglyphs or tree-carving.  David McGuiness from Willis & Bond pitched a tremendously polarising plan for auctioning art and allowing passers-by to ‘text a bid’ much as we can ‘text a park’ in the city at present.

Once we announced the audience vote for the winning artistic pitch (Shona and Natalia’s music work had captured most hearts), the after match party was held over the road at the empty Lara Parker store in Cuba St (managed by Cook Strait Holdings). We's sorry we could only invite a very small number of people due to its tiny size, and focussed on bringing together the pitching artists, council peeps and property owners. Matilda Fraser, the very able Massey art student who has been interning with us, used the opportunity to bring fellow students’ works into the shop for the night, and weekend. Thanks to Tilly we ended up in this way sneaking in another art project before we turned out the lights

We’re rapt that the concept of creative and artistic uses of space is really gaining traction in Wellington. How we formalise the process so that more artists and property owners can take advantage of this is yet to be established but we’re working on it. Watch this empty space.

This Saturday we’re presenting at Te Tuhi in Auckland as part of Resonating Spaces at 2pm, a forum looking at the interaction between art and urban renewal. It’ll be a chance to download. Love to see our Auckland friends there.

Wednesday
Jul272011

Six artists facing the future on Friday

Here's information on the artists pitching their visions to the public at the Wellington Town Hall, Friday night (29 July), 6pm as part of The Urban Dream Brokerage.
The artists selected to pitch are Tim Barlow, James R Ford, Shona Jaunas with Natalia Mann, and Bruce Mahalshi with Bev Hong.

The first pitcher Tim Barlow is a Wellington artist with an MFA from Massey University Wellington 2011. He has extensive experience nationally and internationally in film and television art departments, and specialises in crossing the barriers of film production and art production.

James R Ford is a conceptual artist whose practice explores notions of repetition, pathos and the everyday. Ford has a very British sense of humour and revels in word play and language puns, delving into the activities and influences of his childhood. Ford studied at Goldsmiths in London, and has exhibited internationally.
Natalia Mann is a musician and composer. She holds a BMusPerf from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and in recent years has worked with Richard Nunns, Bic Runga, Gareth Farr, the NZSO, and this year will be working on a collaborative solo harp dance collaboration with Black Grace dance company.

Mann is pitching with Shona Jaunas, who studied music and commerce at Victoria University and acting at the Drama Studio London.  She was a founding partner of Strung Out Quartet and has collaborated with many artists. She toured internationally with acclaimed theatre company American Drama Group Europe and has played Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar in London.

Bruce Mahalski is a multi-media conceptual artist who has exhibited in galleries all over New Zealand since 1997. He is also a published author and commercial illustrator. Bruce has a particular passion for natural and local history and often combines aspects of these interests with both his commercial and his contemporary art practice.

Bev is of second generation New Zealand born Chinese heritage.  She is a social issues researcher who has worked primarily with the public sector over the past 20 years.  More recently, she has developed a visual contemporary art focus and has a specific interest in exploring the areas of sustainability, globalisation, visible difference and identity.

The Urban Dream brokerage is sponsored by Wellington City Council as part of the council’s public engagement period for the Toward 2040: A Smart Green Wellington. Toward 2040 details what Wellington City Council think Wellington needs to do as a city to make sure it continues to thrive in a rapidly changing local and global environment.
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