THE TEZA CONCEPT

TEZA PORIRUA CITY 2015

AN INTRODUCTION

Ma tou rourou ma toku rourou ka ora ai tautou

With your resources and my resources we will all be sustained

With your collaboration and with artists and organisations across the country, Letting Space is declaring Porirua City a ‘transitional economic zone’.

The Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa (or TEZA for short) is a major event in Porirua in 2015. Artists will work with groups from the community on projects that explore new ways for a diversity of people to work together. Work will develop across the city, and come together with gatherings and displays in November.

Currently we want to meet people in the Porirua City region who are leading social change, and finding new solutions for dealing with the wellbeing of our people.

This is a platform for socially productive activities that are not recognised in the current economic system. We want to connect them to artists to together create projects that make us think about and look at the world differently, exciting change.

What is a ‘transitional economic zone’? Special economic zones exist worldwide. Yet usually in these zones, regulations are lifted to allow companies to extract resources, often at local expense and little acknowledgement of what has already been developed, for multinational profit. The playful concept of the ‘transitional economic zone’ turns this idea on its head. Here, a group of visiting artists’ work to see how they might best contribute to a region, recognise the strengths existent in a community, and how they might make visible understanding of its history and grounding. Their diverse projects will offer challenges and raise questions as well as bring joy and celebration.

This significant meeting of public art and community development has previously been held to acclaim and much discussion in New Brighton, an earthquake stricken suburb of Christchurch, in November 2013.

Concepts

We wish to make better visible community activities that are taking place in Porirua city, promoting better understanding, and a more informed local and non-local public.

Recognising that we find it easy to be foreigners in our own country, we come from all around New Zealand, to get know our neighbours in Porirua. We want to bring our strengths as outsiders in to bridge gaps and break preconceptions and stereotypes, and develop better understanding across groups.

TEZA Porirua City will recognise and celebrate the innovation, leadership and creativity of social and community organisations . We recognise this is a region where remarkable actions are being taken at a collective level which are grounded in the city’s needs and background. From Whitby to Titahi Bay, Pukerua Bay to Waitangirua we also embrace this as a region of diverse character.

As art projects we want to make people reconsider their position in relation to each other. This for us is a key aspect of art’s power – to make things visible and to celebrate but also to ask questions, provoke debate.

Typically the role of the outsider in our history, has been one of taking possession or imposition of outside values. Traditionally, in Aotearoa New Zealand the space where the outsider and local meet has been the marae atea. TEZA is an experimental model, exploring a new more fluid kind of temporary residency. Creating common ground between outsider and resident, new immigrant and established family, whilst recognising mana whenua and local knowledge. It is an experimental enquiry all can participate in for both enjoyment and contribution.

A key question with TEZA is: “how do we visit a place in a generous way?” Letting Space wants to recognise the social bridging agency and perspective outsiders bring, and also find ways to acknowledge New Zealand’s bicultural base – acknowledge the ground we are on and its mana whenua, and together provide a welcoming space to diverse publics, coming both from Porirua City, but also from the Wellington region and the country beyond.

Funding

TEZA 2013 was supported by Creative New Zealand, who are again funding the project in 2015. Letting Space are now seeking necessary further funding and community partnerships for TEZA in Porirua City.

Working alongside Kai Tahu runanga was also an important part of TEZA 2013 ’s inception. Further funding was gained from Canterbury Community Trust and the Chartwell Trust, and in New Brighton, we worked with Renew New Brighton, Positive Directions Trust, Project New Brighton, Our Daily Waste, The Physics Room as well as representatives of community gardens and local artists.

Artists

In Christchurch Letting Space collaborated with commissioned artists and designers Richard Bartlett, Tim Barlow, David Cook, Tim J Veling, Phil Dadson, Stuart Foster, Mark Harvey, Simon Kaan, Kerry Ann Lee, Kim Paton, Kura Puke, Te Urutahi Waikerepuru and Kiwi Henare. They in turn sought local collaborators, and many more joined, with an open invitation to participate. A number of these artists will participate in TEZA again as a collective and remain actively involved. But they will be joined by new artists, bringing together a diversity of ways of engaging locally, and seeing our platform continuing to build .

What will TEZA in Porirua City look like?

The look and shape of TEZA will emerge from the collaborations forming this year and discussions between visiting artists and the community. Part of TEZA’s innovation as an art and social project is that its shape is not predetermined. Much as a painter might begin with structural ideas and then find ways to shift and break these, TEZA introduces open source elements into development to allow for significant collaboration.

TEZA will involve the commissioning of seven major art projects and is likely, as in 2013 to involve a central meeting space or commons area for visitors and locals alike to create together and exchange ideas and visions.

To give an indication of the potential diversity TEZA 2013 included (but was not limited to): a bicycle choir, a Kai Tahu food exchange project, a publication created by recent immigrants, an art and photographic project with a local school due to close documenting and considering the future of their school land, and a light project across the skies. Another Creative Summit – lunchtime and evening gatherings bringing together people from the suburb, region and country – is a likely core activity in 2015.

Descriptions of the projects, introductory essays, feedback from artists and community members and a wide-ranging series of commentaries on TEZA 2013 have been collected together in an online publication which we invite you to view at: http://www.enjoy.org.nz/files/TEZA2013_TheCatalogue.pdf

An external review of the project by leading art critic and curator Warren Feeney also provides an arts perspective:

http://eyecontactsite.com/2013/12/relational-projects-in-christchurch

About Letting Space

“In what is arguably the toughest game in the visual arts, they make important things happen in the complex and contested public realm. From Kim Paton’s extraordinary Free Store to the recent TEZA project, Letting Space have activated a range of communities to think and reflect on what a dynamic and critically informed public sphere might/should/could be. They are incredible enablers and there is no organisation like it in New Zealand or Australia.”

Professor David Cross, Deakin University, Melbourne.

Letting Space seeks to transform the relationship between artists, the public and their environments to enable social change. Our work is about increasing the public commons, finding new ways through art, the media and urban revitalisation to think more creatively and collectively about our environment.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, we create major temporary public artwork and events nationally designed to provide dynamic new spaces for engagement. We have commissioned and curated over a dozen projects nationally since 2010, as well as running the Urban Dream Brokerage, which enables other independent producers to create innovative projects in vacant retail spaces in Wellington.

Letting Space also asks the public to become engaged in art as participants. Through creative provocations, we treat art as part of the social fabric, providing impetus for change in our cities and communities..

We commission leading contemporary New Zealand artists to work in commercial and public spaces, and also provide advisory and curatorial services for organisations looking to programme temporary public art events.

Previous projects not including TEZA have been commissioned from Judy Darragh, Eve Armstrong, Tim Barlow (Erupt Festival, Taupo), D.A.N.C.E Art Club (Erupt Festival, Taupo), Mark Harvey (New Zealand International Festival of the Arts), Colin Hodson, Bronwyn Holloway Smith, Dugal McKinnon, Kim Paton, Julian Priest (Splore, Auckland), Monique Redmond and Tanya Eccleston (Auckland Arts Festival), Tao Wells and Vanessa Crowe.

“Letting Space has consistently delivered an innovative and genre-changing programme of public art that has reshaped the workings of the city, and the role artists can find within it. The use of vacated commercial buildings as the site of engagement between artists, their audience and the public commons was a masterstroke that has led to the creation of what will be remembered as some of the most important art projects staged in Wellington over recent times.”

Aaron Lister, Curator, City Gallery Wellington

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