I thought it might be cool to share some links to some performance works made by the choreographers I’ll be working with in Berlin at Hebbel am ufer.
Nisha Madhan – Vinyl record player
Jacob Tamaiparea – A letter, a map to his new apartment in Germany, a smooth stone from his daughter Tiitama’s playground, and a bottle cap off his favourite kind of beer.
Georgie Goater – A map of the world’s earthquake zones, with a picture of her house in Christchurch and some art by her dad on the back.
Terri Crawford – A huge bundle of stuff, including a Kiri Te Kanawa CD
Emma Korn – A book called The Satanic Witch
Paul Young – A package including two rain ponchos
Series of postcards celebrating New Treaty Militia, inspired by the looming Rugby World Cup. These postcards will hopefully be available for purchase at our Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin shows.
On the 6th of February, 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in New Zealand by representatives of the British Crown and various indigenous Maori chiefs of the North Island. The English version of the Treaty differs significantly in meaning to the Maori version, so there is no consensus as to exactly what was agreed to. From the British point of view, the Treaty gave British sovereignty over New Zealand and gave the Governor the right to run the country. Maori have a range of understandings that conflict with this, including the understanding that they retained and will always retain their own sovereignty. Although the Treaty of Waitangi has never represented a clear agreement between Maori and British, it is still generally considered to be the founding document of New Zealand.
Award winning performance artist Cat Ruka presents NEW TREATY MILITIA, a work that radically explores how the contentious document of the Treaty of Waitangi manifests itself in contemporary relations between Maori and British descendants (or ‘Pakeha’ as we say in New Zealand). It entertains the notion that at an abstract level, the Treaty pre-occupies Maori and Pakeha with an inter-play of power transferral between each other. Ultimately it is an inter-play to do with economy, from which both Maori and Pakeha have suffered and prospered. NEW TREATY MILITIA asks: How have our bodies and our actions become inscribed by this document of disagreement? Does the Treaty of Waitangi hold us back from progressing beyond simplistic notions of race? How might we look past the debate that the Treaty of Waitangi represents?
NEW TREATY MILITIA is a decadent performance-symbol of the present day “partnership” between Maori and Pakeha, a partnership that at times can be horrifyingly dark, but always has the potential to be profoundly creative. A surrealist game between two people occupied in a semi-conscious, semi-absurdist, semi-serious realm, NEW TREATY MILITIA hopes to reveal a more complex and a more honest metaphor of what the Treaty of Waitangi looks like today. All in the name of Love.
NEW TREATY MILITIA features Cat Ruka and New Zealand based performance artist Josh Rutter.
Photo by Mark McClean, featuring performance artist Mike Holland
“I usually end up back in Auckland despite working in lots of other places. Formerly obsessed with intensity in the body, I now seek clarity and build structure that the feelings can pass through/gather around. I can’t decide whether I want to be more stylized and magical or less so”.
Auckland based performance artist Joshua Rutter will be making New Treaty Militia with me. Josh is currently over in Berlin doing the awesome Josh things and has just finished working with Stephen Bain on a show in the woods of Terschelling. This show was called When Animals Dream of Sheep, which I was part of during it’s developing stages in Auckland. I can’t wait to see Josh again and get working with him. Josh is the first person I have ever been in an artistic relationship with who I don’t want to boss around. He teaches me gold and puts up with my shiz.
Josh and I also have a pretty creepy little music-art side project called Sweat City Heat Wave. We are going to do a gig or two whilst in Berlin.
A few weeks ago I asked a bunch of very lovely people to donate ‘gifts’ to the new show, with the intention that these gifts would become the set design and therefore create the world that Josh and I will perform in. I’m really into the idea that objects retain the energy of their owner, and so I thought that it would be a cool way of having these great people on stage with us. I’m also really into the idea that a person’s identity is constructed by the reality of what is around them – a reality that is fluid, messy, contradictory, paradoxical, and cannot be controlled. So to hand over the set design to this ‘method of chance’ is, I guess, my way of symbolizing this idea. It is life’s unpredictable experiences and the objects inside of those experiences that create the context for our identities. To adorn yourself in prescribed cultural symbols and imagery that create a static snapshot of who you are is, in my opinion, to travel further away from your true self.
The brief I gave the ‘gift-bearers’ was totally open. The gift could be handmade, it could be bought, it could be a found object, it could be something they have had since childhood, it could be absolutely anything and could be as elaborate or as insignificant as they liked. A thread, a leaf, an ornament, a piece of food, a bag of wees or poos, a framed picture of themselves, absolutely anything.
So far I have received 9 gifts and I will be receiving a bunch more over the next couple of months leading up to the show, and I thought it would be nice to share what I receive along the way. It has been SUCH an awesome part of the process and has reminded me how cool it is to get stuff in the post. My letterbox has never been happier! A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE GIFT BEARERS YOU GUYS ARE THE SHIT.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
1. I ‘made’ this, it is the Swag Bag. This is what the gifts will be carried in on tour.
2. This is the first gift I received. It is from interdisciplinary artist and curator Shigeyuki Kihara, who I have admired greatly for a while now. She gave it to me when we met up with each other at a cafe in Grey Lynn. If memory serves me correctly, these items were given to her as a gift also, and now she is passing them on to me. Yuki and I will both be presenting at the Matchpoint festival in Berlin in September.
3. This gift was given to me by a very sexy woman who has the most incredible haircut. I used to live with her and her man Matty in Grey Lynn. She is studying jewellery design at the moment and she likes to make meals that contain ingredients from her and her man’s kick-ass garden they have out the back of their house. Her name is Amy King.
4. I received this gift a few days ago which i unwrapped on my way to work. It is from Daniel Satele, an Auckland based artist who sings, acts, writes and recites poetry and paints (and probably does shitloads of other stuff that I haven’t seen yet). Daniel’s work excites me very much and I think he might be mega famous one day if he isn’t already and I’ve just been living under a rock. You can’t really see in the image, but there is a line drawing of a man’s face on the wrapping paper just above Michael Jackson. I think it may be a self portrait.
5. This boomerang brush was given to me by Danny Butt just before he was about to board a plane to Sumatra. Danny is an incredibly smart dude who lectures in critical studies at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts. I met Danny at a talk about this research project I was involved in a couple of years back which was to do with the island of Tuvalu. Everything that came out of Danny’s mouth was so on point for me so I decided to internet stalk him a bit. I don’t really know Danny but I know his brain is “da bomb”. Hopefully we will get to work together one day.
6. If you haven’t seen Zahra Killeen-Chance perform yet you’re missing out. She is a very honest, very captivating mover and she has a stillness about her spirit that reels you in and puts you at immediate ease when you watch her. I remember having a pretty funny chat with Zahra one night when we were at a party on mercury lane in auckland. We had had a few drinks and I have no idea what we were talking about but i do remember that she is hilarious. She also makes the most incredible chocolate coconut macaroon thingys which I’ve seen her bust out on occasion. Zahra gave me this framed tapestry, which came wrapped in a Butterick sewing pattern!
7. Michelle Evans and I met each other under the most magical circumstances. In 2008, academic fait would have it that we would spend two weeks together in Tuvalu, a group of Pacific Islands literally in the middle of nowhere which, according to statistics, would be one of the first islands to sink due to climate change. We were there during independence week and therefore got to experience some of the most amazing music and dance I have ever seen. I will never forget this experience, and Michelle is part of that memory. She has given me a necklace she picked up whilst we were there. So awesome. Michelle lives in Melbourne.
8. I received this gift from the one and only Tejo van Schie, physiotherapist to the dancing stars and exceptional purveyor of culture. I bet you Tejo goes to more performances than the whole dance community put together, and probably could post-performance analyze us all under the table too. Tejo is very tall, and I have seen him and his wife Doris riding their bikes together on k’ rd. I bet they have a cool house. Tejo found these new zealand flags in the empty section next door to him. He says that people are always dumping stuff there.
9. Anna Bate is one of the most legendary dance artists in New Zealand and deserves a medal of some sort. Can we get her a medal made up please? Who do I see about that? I hadn’t seen any of Anna’s stuff before she went to Europe so it was a real unexpected breath of fresh air for me when she got back and whole-heartedly injected the dance scene with some much needed swag. Anna has been working with Sean Curham on his Ghosting series as well as her own ruley stuff. Anna gave Mike Holland this tin to give to me for the show, an object which she said is the kind of thing that she would use in her own work. My grandma had a very similar one.
10. And finally, an incredible gift from German performance artist Jochen Roller, who is curating the Matchpoint festival at Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin. I met Jochen at Allelujah cafe on K’rd a few months back. He was hung over and so was I. Jochen sent me this welcome mat from Singapore, I’m not sure what he was doing over there but it would have been something awesome. I’m really looking forward to getting to know Jochen better because he seems pretty damn cool.