In Proposal for an Expedition I reflect on the social
representation of environmental stewardship values in New
Zealand. Equal parts historic fable and contemporary narrative,
my project addresses the archive, the museum, and the wildlife
reserve as sites of knowledge production. The work exists as a
collection of objects, actions, stories and ideas that combine to
re-imagine a wildlife sanctuary not as a static ‘reserve’ but as a
dynamic and multi-layered space evoking multiple simultaneous
ecological, historical and socio-political resonances.
Proposal for an Expedition consists of a researched archive of found
material related to an island’s unique history, which draws it into a
contextual relationship with the broader narrative of environmental
history in New Zealand. By inviting one to closely scrutinize
the context, Proposal for an Expedition subtly asks the viewer
to engage with its documents to consider the impacts of human
activity on a highly altered New Zealand landscape. The project
examines how archival material represents our understanding
a crucial, yet often misconstrued site of intervention – our
changing understanding of ecology in a post-colonial landscape.
Yet somewhere in the project, another process is at large: the
true nature of the site must and will, inevitably remain hidden.