Proposal for an expedition : submitted as partial fulfilment of a Masters of Fine Arts thesis at Massey University

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Massey University
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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.
Human ecology, Environmental stewardship, Maud Island, New Zealand, New Zealand landscape