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WaterLinks: Active Reflections, New Plymouth, New Zealand 2015
James P. Werner and Ava Paterson Werner

WaterLinks: Active Reflections, New Plymouth, New Zealand 2015

The installation was part of the Water * Peace Exhibition placed along the Huatoki River walk, in the city center of New Plymouth where people cruising the city might happen upon it. The following day it was installed at the WIT campus where a symposium was held. 300 hand-made mixed-media artworks made by artist Ava Paterson Werner were hung across the Huatoki walkway; passers-by could view them and cut one down and take it away at no cost. Each piece was a unique collage painting reflecting on the Maori culture, history, and local landscape. On the back of each piece were questions such as “What water do you come from, and “What is your water story,” which were translations of common Maori greetings that reflect the integral way that water is related to the core of their identity as a people. People who wanted to take one of the cards were asked to look at mounted collages made by James that consisted of images related to a variety of water topics such as climate change, pollution, and local conflicts on water rights. These installations were installed with video cameras, and patrons were asked to look into the video camera and answer the question on the back of the card they had chosen. The end result of the installations was a surplus of video documenting individuals’ thoughts on water and it’s importance to them. Statements ranged from, “I like water for swimming,” to stories of nearly drowning, contacts with sharks, eerie sailing stories, ballads complete with guitar rifts about water and life sung in Maori language, and critical and compelling reflections of the state of water pollution and conservation around the globe. The footage reveals interesting points about technology interaction and the desire to contribute reflective comments to a global audience from this community. See Ava Paterson Werner's website, for more information and samples.
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