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Artist to broadcast lists of millions of bygone things

New Zealand artist to broadcast lists of millions of bygone things across Venice


From May 8, Dane Mitchell’s multi-site artwork Post hoc will broadcast lists of millions of disappeared or bygone things across Venice from the New Zealand Pavilion for the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the world’s largest contemporary art exhibition.

Five locations across the Italian city together comprise Post hoc which can be thought of as a sonic and sculptural network. The New Zealand Pavilion, housed in the Palazzina Canonica – the former headquarters of exhibition partner the Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR-ISMAR) – will serve as the hub for Post hoc. Other installations will be located at the Parco Rimembranze at Sant’Elena (Park of Remembrance), the Università luav di Venezia (The Architecture School), the Ospedale Civile di Venezia (the hospital), and the Internal Garden of the North Arsenale, Arsenale di Venezia.

Chairman of the Arts Council of New Zealand, Michael Moynahan, says Dane Mitchell is well known for his innovative and challenging work.

“Dane’s response to ‘space’ has pushed the boundaries of what’s expected of an exhibition at the Biennale Arte – continuing our reputation of being an innovative country with a great diversity of arts practice,” he said.

“I would like to acknowledge the support and hard work of the team who have been helping Dane pull together this ambitious artwork, and pass on our gratitude to the local partners who have come on-board to support this unique presentation.”

At the New Zealand pavilion Mitchell has installed an anechoic, or echo-free, chamber, to transmit his broadcast of millions of disappeared and invisible things that have been researched over the last two years – from lists of known black holes, disappeared sounds and extinct birds to former national anthems. The electronic voice uttering each item on the lists will be transmitted to cell towers disguised as pine trees located at each site. All those who visit the trees will be able to hear the voice and also select and stream the lists on a handheld device when within the field of transmission.

Post hoc’s automated incantations are also transformed into material form as, in sync with the broadcast, word by word the names of the bygone phenomena are printed onto rolls of paper inside the historic, empty library of the Palazzina Canonica, gradually and allusively filling its space.

According to Lead Curator, Zara Stanhope, the inventory of missing things is so large that Post hoc never repeats the items it broadcasts throughout the entire duration of the Biennale.

“To hear all of them you would need to listen to over 24,000 words per day, for eight hours every day, over the seven months of the exhibition,” she said.

Post hoc uses the act of speech to call up this staggering accretion of loss, making it part of our present moment.”

Post hoc has been commissioned by the Arts Council of New Zealand for its 9th national presentation at the La Biennale di Venezia. New Zealand at Venice is grateful for the support of its generous patrons, partners and sponsors. New Zealand’s arts development agency, Creative New Zealand, funds and manages New Zealand’s presence at the Biennale Arte 2019 and the New Zealand at Venice patrons generously contribute towards the presentation. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is a key partner once more. We are grateful for their long-term commitment to supporting New Zealand’s presence at the biennale.

Post hoc will be open for preview on May 8 and the public will be able to view the work, and the rest of the Biennale from May 11 to November 24, 2019.

- ENDS -

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