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Ngā Raraunga o te Mākū: the data of moisture

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Ngā raraunga o te Mākū: the data of moisture is a part of a series of artworks that emanate from the Haupapa Tasman glacier in Aotearoa, New Zealand. In the traditions of the Kāi Tahu people indigenous to the area, the Haupapa glacier is a body of ice formed from a deep exhalation of Aoraki, the ancestor mountain, as he readied to speak. The glacier is melting into Aotearoa, New Zealand’s fastest growing lake; and the ancient breath of those who walked there long ago is released in this transformation. 

Live weather data recorded by NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi (New Zealand’s Climate, Freshwater and Marine Science Institute) from sensors near the Haupapa glacier are streamed continuously to form a site-responsive installation, based on the physical data of local weather conditions. The digital measurements of this data, made visible on a projected panel in the installation, activate Ron Bull’s recorded voicings of names of elemental ancestors. These were recorded live on the lake, to gift and acknowledge Kāi Tahu names and mātauraka (knowledge). Custom designed software makes selections from a set of underwater images of glacial fragments and meltwater. Live hydrophone and processed atmospheric sound recordings are also activated in this process. The ordering and qualities of sound and video are decided by the weather conditions surrounding the glacier. On days of high solar radiation, bright, clear ice and sun predominate and move the images on screen accordingly; on cloudy days, the image darkens.

Scientific Advisor: Heather Purdie, University of Canterbury. Live weather data courtesy of NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi (New Zealand’s Climate, Freshwater and Marine Science Institute).

Commissioned by Te Tuhi for World Weather Network and supported by Creative New Zealand, AUT University, Contemporary Art Foundation and Auckland Council. Data stream courtesy of NIWA | Climate, Freshwater & Ocean Science.

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