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Between Silos: Geneaology Project

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19 September 2013

The Genealogy Project brings together a series of studies which explore a heritage of creative women and the embodiment of women in architectural spaces.

This project, curated by Lynda Simmons, was installed in room 3 in the Silo Gallery, and included 4 separate and revolving projection and audio projects;

1. He Whare Tangata: Inside the Womb.

Artist/team: Elisapeta Heta and Raukura Turei.

Medium:  Still images and audio.

He Whare Tangata: Inside the Womb documents and presents the stories of two inately female Maori interiors: the tiny wharenui Kahurangi Ki Maungawhau, a converted prefab, at Auckland Girls grammar School, and Ukaipō o Mahinārangi, the whare at Tapu te Ranga Marae, Island Bay, Wellington, which is a unique dedication to the female energy.

Raukura Turei discusses this project in an interview and profile on her in issue 121 Feb/March 2015 of the Mana Magazine.

Elisapeta Heta also discusses this project in the context of her wider work in issue 122 April/May 2015 of the Mana Magazine.

2. The Whare in The Bush.

Artist / Team: Elisapeta Heta, Raukura Turei, Rebbeca Green, Ruby Watson

Medium:  Still images and video.

A collaborative project by four women architectural graduates, to design and build a 10 square metre cabin/whare from largely salvaged materials. They set out to discover what it meant to take on our traditionally masculine DIY culture as a collective of enthusiastic, 'under-experienced' and curious women, and pay homage to the can-do spirit of previous generations of building women. The title of the project refers to the iconic image which has dominated the New Zealand 'Timber Modern' style of the mid twentieth century, and which is discussed by Robin Skinner in his article of the same name. Projections onto the curved silo walls showed the process of design and construction of the project.

After project completion, an exhibition was held at AUT's St Paul's Gallery Three and a publication produced, both called Gentle Foundations.

3. The Grandmother Project.

Artist: Jordan McOnie

Medium: Video and audio.

Jordan McOnie, a Native Designer of the Kiowa Nation, brings to light stories from Pasifika and other indigenous elders through filmed interviews which unfold topics of orientation and dwelling in relation to lived tradition. Audio in Samoan, Maori, Tongan, English. (Note: A documentary is currently being made on The Grandmother Project, therefore the audio is under rights restrictions and the link is not available. We will notify when the documentary is completed.)

4. St Kevins Arcade.

Artist / Team: Lynda Simmons, Public Works Media.

Medium: Stills.

A photographic reinstallation of the interior atrium of St. Kevin’s Arcade, designed and built in the mid-20s by W.A Cummings. One of the earliest women in New Zealand's architectural history, Esther James, obtained her articles in the office of W.A Cummings and her intials are on some of the construction drawings for the internal shop facades. The cafe occupying the central atrium space, Alleluya Cafe, has been the unofficial office of the A+W•NZ team since its inception in 2011, and this project recreates this important space in the new temporary site of Architecture+Women•NZ, Silo Gallery.

5. Lupe

Artist / Team: Lynda Simmons, Shareena Sumeran.

Medium: Stills and audio, voiced by Jeremy Treadwell.

An account of Lupe, the Faletele at Unitec, which was named for the female partner of Matai-Tufuga Kaietiano Smith, the tufuga who built it. The faletele is adorned with the malu (tatau) designs from her legs, embedding her spirit into the building. The audio is from an interview with Jeremy Treadwell, who instigated the Unitec faletele project.