“The film provides a way for the community to talk about its river.” Murray Hewitt
A series of five, night-time live cinema events located at bore and river sites across the valley with performances by local artists and cultural groups. Music and stories were selected to accompany an audacious film mapping the aquifer and Hutt river – flying majestically above the water in real time, from Taita to Matiu Somes Island.
Performers: Taita College Poly Club choir, One Beat One Heart
Date: Sat 25 Feb 2017 9:00 pm
Where: Riverfront, corner of Taita Drive and Nash Street, Taita, Lower Hutt.
Performers: Helen Heath, Gem Wilder, Damien Wilkins
Date: Sun 26 Feb 2017 7:00 pm
Where: GNS Science, 1 Fairway Drive, Avalon, Lower Hutt
Text by Gem Wilder: read here.
Text by Damien Wilkins: read here.
Performers: Hutt Valley Community Choir
Date: Fri 3 Mar 2017 5:15 – 6:00 pm
Where: Waterloo Railway Station.
Performers: Ssendam Rawkustra and Mixmusicmania
Date: Sat 4 Mar, 9:00 pm
Where: Under the Melling Link Bridge
With thanks to Wellington Water, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Taita College and Kiwirail
Today straightened and accompanied by a state highway, Hutt River winds its way through the Hutt Valley, before spilling out into Wellington harbour. Below valley and harbour is an enormous aquifer fed by water entering the ground from the river at Taita Gorge. Water from the aquifer comes into the Wellington region’s pipes through a pumping station at Waterloo, but there are many bore sites stretching from Taita to Matiu Somes Island.
A prominent visual landmark and significant recreational asset, the river means many things to many people. Meanwhile, public access through bores to natural artesian drinking water from the aquifer has also become increasingly celebrated.
For Murray Hewitt’s project the river and aquifer gets a new kind of accompaniment. A series of outdoor live cinema events involving local community cultural groups across the valley, follows a daring local experiment with drone videography. Hewitt uses film and performance in experimental ways to enable the community to express its relationship to its river and aquifer. Hewitt celebrates the many different relationships to the river as braids that make up the Hutt community.
Filmed, the river acts as a moving visual score for local artists to compose and make music to, adding their stories and cultural perspectives to its bed.
Key to the project were five performances during the Common Ground week at bore sites along the river, with the five different community cultural groups.
The film takes in the river, five bridges, an island and the sea as formal visual elements, with this film then given to a range of local musical and cultural groups to provide stories, waiata and music to. They become the sounds of the river – its movement and shape connected to the community as its performer.
“The river bed becomes like a wavelength,” writes Hewitt.”It gives a beat, a frame within which the community may contribute.”
‘Making of’ videos and an artist’s bio follow.
Murray Hewitt lives just beyond the floodbank in Moera on the lower stretch of the Hutt River and works at the Dowse Art Museum as a technician. He is known principally for his video work and has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and as part of group exhibitions internationally.
Working mostly in video, his works have contemplated consumer behaviour, remembered historic events, or mulled over current political ones through the considered actions of a lone costumed figure, or repetitive stationary camera shots that encourage sustained deliberation from the viewer. Born in Hastings, he has has a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Massey, a NZ Certificate in Civil Engineering and worked for many years as a youth worker.