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Images: Aliens Descend Upon Parliament

Images: Aliens Descend Upon Parliament

Spring Bulb
sculpture at the beehive
Click to enlarge

Spring Bulb
sculpture at the beehive
Click to enlarge

Aliens descend upon parliament:

Mulitmedia artists Suza, Cathy Carter and Andrew Ferguson are down in Wellington to exhibit their work 'Spring Bulb' at the ShapeShifter 08 exhibition in the civic gardens at the New Dowse gallery in Lower Hutt which opens 21st February at 6:30 . 'Spring Bulb' is a quirky monument to the soon to be extinct light bulb, the installation encapsulates ideas of innovation, energy, transmission, illumination and connectedness.With our work we also aim to draw attention to the fact that even though sustainable energy sources are readily attainable the message isn't getting through, the debates continue on unabated with no accord in sight or tangible solutions presented on the table. 'In the midst of these issues and challenges, nature has presented its own solution: A wacky giant plant that has mysteriously sprouted from its own spring bulb, producing a bulb on a spring, blending into the environment it finds itself in...'

A photo documentation of the sculptures in iconic nz landscape and places during our road-trip became a playful extension of our work. E.g.the Auckland water front, a wind farm (Palmerston North), the desert road...finally arriving in Wellington we chose the Beehive for a suitable background to present the essence of the city.... and then this is what happened:

We placed the sculptures on the steps and no sooner had we removed our lens caps when security came over asking what we were doing. The first security guard possibly being confronted with artists responded in what could be termed an act of intelligence and called for back up, presumably asking what's the procedure for artists wielding cameras at objects d`art. The radio waves crackled and within a moment the guard gave the OK to go ahead. So we proceeded to compose our shots, only to notice very shortly afterwards two very official looking officials storming out of the house coming towards us issuing commands "Stop, what are you doing, you can't do that here (its against procedure and we like procedure) you need permission to do that and who gave you permission. At no point was the issue clarified , simply being told we're not allowed to do that, was evident enough to say that we shouldn't be doing what we were doing.

Apparently they seemed more concerned that we were taking pictures of the beehive which was odd considering we could have been placing our alien spy technology including thermo nuclear war heads on the steps of parliament, it also didn't make much sense in light of the throngs of tourists taking pictures of the beehive. At no point did it become apparent that national security was an issue. In the conversation to follow, about how one would seek permission to do what we where doing, one official made a reference to "how would you feel if someone came into your back yard to take photo's" which was met with "We thought parliament was considered every New Zealanders back yard".

Eventually it was determined that we needed permission from the speaker of the house but usually people (artists) would write ahead in advance to make such requests. So Cathy went off to write a letter accompanied by the disgruntled officials to be presented before the speaker and within 10 minutes they were back with permission for us to continue with our photos. The other official commented that the speaker was very grumpy at our request! (though more likely for him wasting her time with such trivial matters no doubt)


Dear speaker

A group of three Auckland artists exhibiting at the new Dowse Gallery are requesting that we can take some photo, of our sculpture on the fore court of parliament. This is documentation for our Artists work books as evidence of works the having traveled down to wellington, it involves three small works on the grounds with the Beehive in background. We could also take the photos on the grass with the beehive in the background. Thankyou for taking the time to answer our request

Cathy Carter


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