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History in RGB: Herebefore Thereafter (Aotearoa)

Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab on Civility presented by Smithsonian APA and Auckland Museum, Silo Park in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand (October 25-28, 2019)


History in RGB: Herebefore Thereafter (Aotearoa)

Exploring individual and collective history as mediated experience, “Herebefore Thereafter” combines found images of history, mythology, legends, landscapes, and creatures from Aotearoa New Zealand to propose alternatives to the systemic representations ordered by colonial narratives.

This series is produced for Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab on Civility presented by Smithsonian APA and Auckland Museum (October 25-28, 2019)

Each print is a juxtaposition of images that have been stripped of color, then re-assigned with the value of selected 16 colours based on an Aotearoa New Zealand colour palette. The re-assignment of color is based on the value system set by red, green or blue.  Viewing the print through one of the three filters, selected images become visible while simultaneously obscuring other elements. While the filters become tools for revelation and clarity for a monochromatic narrative, they also produce a mottled background by obfuscating the other narratives that exist on the same surface.

My interest in how images and by extension history, desire, and experience, are mediated phenomena is rooted in my education growing up in the Philippines, and then as an immigrant in the US. In both circumstances, I initially understood my culture and history largely via the colonizers’ points of view. My college and post-grad studies in photography, art history, colonialism, and feminism led to my interest in the questions of how “truth” is understood or represented and who has the power to define it. Through this immersive installation, I invite the audience the agency to examine the mechanics of representation, where light, color, and image become experiential devices used to convey power and point of view, and to question who has the privilege and power to tell the traditional, contemporary or historical narratives presented as truth. For “Te Whāinga” I am incorporating, learning and listening to the many complex narratives that complicate our understanding of where we stand here today in a meeting place between land and the sea.


Rosanna Raymond's BackHand Maiden surrounded by Maria Dumlao's prints in Silo 6.

To see more of the installation and events from Te Whāinga, go see #tewhāinga


"The Killing of Captain Cook" print installed in Tufala Meri's Civil/Faulty Shop (Reina & Molana Sutton), 2019

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