Talking Culture Symposium - Response

Talking Culture

Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium • 1 June - 2 June only

11am - 4pm daily
Cnr Kitchener & Wellesley Streets, Auckland
Kit Wise, Fofoga Setoga-Tuala, Michel Varisco, Andrew Quilty, Allan McDonald, Richard Mahoney, Giles Crook

The expanded Talking Culture Symposium 2013 will take place over 2 days on the opening weekend of the Festival, 1st June and 2nd June. This year's theme is RESPONSE.

Saturday - The fatal Canterbury earthquake of 2011 was the greatest natural disaster in New Zealand's modern history. The effects of and responses to this disaster will continue personally, socially and economically for many years to come.  This symposium is our Festival's response to the earthquake. We have invited photographers from Christchurch, Auckland and around the world to show how they respond - personally, artistically and photographically - to natural disasters. They will show through their work how the photographic relationship with natural disaster can be documentary, educational, historical, cathartic, advocational and also very complex.

Kit Wise is an artist, curator and art writer originally from the UK, now Associate Professor in Fine Art at Monash University in Melbourne.His PhD explored the artistic response to disaster, trauma and crisis in works such as Natural Disaster. The work is created from Youtube footage of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia and deals with our complicated relationship with nature and natural disaster and the cultural construction of spectacle through the media.

The Samoan Tsunami of 2004 impacted deeply on the Samoan community in Auckland. Auckland photographer Fofoga Setoga-Tuala's family and friends in Samoa were affected by the Tsunami, and her response, while very personal was also photographic. Fofoga travelled to Samoa two weeks after the event and documented the devastation and chaos but also the kindness and generosity of people coming together in support after tragedy.

Michel Varisco is a New Orleans artist working in photography, assemblage and site-specific installation whose work explores loss and regeneration. Her photographic project Fragile Land was created in response to Hurricane Katrina, in particular her wonder at the ability of the landscape and human beings to survive and regenerate through disaster.

World Press Photo award winning Australian photographer Andrew Quilty photographed the Queensland Floods and Cyclone Yasi for the New York Times following his haunting aftermath panoramas from the Black Saturday bush fires of February 2009. This culminated in an essay for the Big Issue, illustrated with his photographs, on his experiences photographing natural disasters. Most recently, by monitoring weather maps and the predicted 'Super Storm' on its way, Quilty travelled to New Jersey where Hurricane Sandy was set to make landfall and covered the ensuing carnage for TIME Magazine. Now familiar with responding to natural disaster with photography, Quilty will talk about his experiences. 

11.00 am Opens

11:15am Kit Wise                            Presentation + Q&A

12:15pm Fofoga Setoga-Tuala     Presentation + Q&A

1:15pm Lunch Break

2:00pm Michel Varisco                    Presentation + Q&A

3:00pm Andrew Quilty                     Presentation + Q&A

4:00pm Ends

Sunday - After the Christchurch earthquakes our cities and towns are scrutinizing their architectural stock and assessing stability. It seems increasingly likely, given the economics of preserving much of our older architecture that a wave of demolitions will proceed that will significantly reduce the historical character of our cities and towns - Allan McDonald

Auckland photographer and Unitec Head of Photography and Media Arts Allan McDonald discusses photographing the architectural heritage of the parts of Auckland which may be at risk of demolition and the collaborative work he is doing with artist Krystina Kaza and architect Jeanette Budgett.

Canterbury photographer Richard Mahoney talks about his and architectural historian Kristina Pickford's project Building a Sense of Place. This project documents the heritage buildings which have survived the earthquakes and are being supported and protected by the CEHBF (Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Fund) to stay standing as the "essential anchors which give us a sense of identity".

Giles Crook is a Melbourne-based photographer who has documented the building of the Sino -Singapore Tianjin Eco-City in China. The eco-city was built not in response to natural disaster, but as a response to climate change and the effects of industrialisation and urbanisation on the environment. Giles will discuss his photographs of the city which may simply be excellent PR vehicles or may have the potential to be the "utopian rebirths" for cities around the world rebuilding in response to man-made and natural disaster.

11.00am Opens

11.15am Allan McDonald              Presentation + Q&A

12.15pm Magnum in Motion        Chris Steele-Perkins

12.30 pm Lunch Break                   

1.15pm Richard Mahoney            Presentation + Q&A

2.15pm Giles Crook                      Presentation + Q+A

3.30pm Ends

Featuring on Sunday will be two Magnum in Motion films - Pakistan 2005, When the Earth Quaked and Tsunami, Streetwalk 1 Kesennuma by Chris Steele-Perkins
A Talking Culture Magnum

-Alan McDonald's talk can be seen in conjunction with the exhibition at Anna Miles Gallery which includes some of his recent work 
Allan McDonald

-Fofoga Setoga Tuala's photographs can also be seen at the Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku for the duration of the Festival.


Richard Mahoney - Ceiling Theatre Royal

Cyclone Yasi; Andrew Quilty

Andrew Quilty - Cyclone Yasi

Michel Varsico

Michel Varisco - Untitled

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