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Blaze of tradition and technology

Blaze of tradition and technology

Tukutuku tradition and technology come together in Muramura artworks created by Massey University lecturer and Mäori visual artist Kura Puke.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Blaze of tradition and technology

A new series of artworks connecting customary Mäori tukutuku patterns with urban signage and lighting technology will be exhibited at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures in Porirua until the end of September.

The exhibition is called Muramura, which means blaze, shimmering, eye-catching, or communicative, according to the artist, University lecturer and Mäori visual artist Kura Puke.

She made the works from acrylic, light-emitting diodes and fibre optic cable to represent the traditional wood and fibre used in tukutuku found in wharenui.

Ms Puke, who teaches at Massey's Auckland School of Design, says Muramura investigates how Mäori visual culture continues to reconcile and integrate fundamental values and cultural identity in an increasingly, globalised, urbanised reality. The exhibition features eight illuminated animated tukutuku panels. Six of the panels make up one integrated work.

“I had to develop customised components for these works including a software programme to control the patterns, timing, colour and intensity, and also a customised fibre optic/LED interface through which the light points are distributed and driven by a small single board computer.

“Most of the development work for the exhibition took place in 2007, when I received two Massey University awards," she says. The University Mäori Award for time off teaching to conduct research, and a Mäori masterate scholarship, which helped fund the project. "I also received some sponsorship from the electronics company Argonaut Ltd.”

Ms Puke does not know of anyone else using fibre optic cables and LED in the same way, but says there is growing interest in the mediums among artists, architects and designers.

She will explain the concepts of the work at a floor-talk, at 1pm on Sunday, 27 July, at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures, Porirua. The exhibition opened on 14 June and runs until 14 September.


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