Over the five ‘working days’ of TEZA 2015, artist, theatre maker and designer Ash Holwell will create Ako Ako: A Role-Swapping Adventure, temporarily swapping roles and lives with five people from Porirua. The people making exchanges with the artist will teach their roles to the artist,whilst Ash will offer up the role of the artist to be used in whichever way the local participant chooses.
As an outsider coming into a community, this act is an attempt to honour and appreciate the diverse and critical roles played by all people in our communities. Asking someone to teach their everyday role to another is a process of acknowledging and uncovering it’s hidden values in the world. Freely offering the role of the ‘artist’ tries to give equal access to the perceived specialist position, and entrusts all people to take such creative positions in the making of our communities.
This simple act is based around a desire to listen to the people of a place, to deeply value the contribution they are already making to the people they live with, and to perhaps pose the question of whether the current economic zone values them asmuch as it could.
Ash Holwell, born in Whāngārei, has trained, studied and worked as an industrial designer, artist, and theatre maker in Wellington, Rotterdam, Vienna, and Auckland. Currently based in Whāngārei, his artistic practice has acted as a catalyst for urban regeneration, resource recovery, decentralised education and community engagement, through work with Company of Giants, Whare Bike, Wood Common, council.go., and ‘suwi circle.