Performance Studies: KŌIWI First Stage Creative Development – School of Art Communication and English Performance Studies: KŌIWI First Stage Creative Development – School of Art Communication and English

Performance Studies: KŌIWI First Stage Creative Development

KŌIWI First Stage Creative Development 

KŌIWI is an interdisciplinary, intercultural durational performance commissioned to be presented at the Dreamhome exhibition for the Art Gallery of NSW new expansion, Sydney Modern July 1-2, 2023.

KŌIWI is a collaborative knowledge exchange, directed by Victoria Hunt, exploring Māori concepts of Whakapapa (genealogy/kinship), Ko te Akau (the place where the immovable meets the relentless), Whakawhiti (to cross over), Hau Kainga (the home-calling breath) and Kawa Mate (objects carried as you make your way home).

A pufferfish jawbone, found washed up on a Bidjigal shoreline and the passing of Elders during the extended lock-down in 2021, acts as catalyst for this creation. Exploring the intimate relationships between the materiality and cultural significance of sacred talismans as body adornment, KŌIWI merges embodiment practices that invoke transformative states and entities; bone assemblages through photogrammetry and 3D printing; live manipulation of voices and sound transmitted into wireless binaural headphones; and recording of sacred cultural instruments from wāhkōhtowin (Cree kinship practices), and whakapapa (Māori kinship practices), to be transformed into sonic landscapes. KŌIWI is a bold revisioning of Victoria’s ongoing dedication to the rematriation of culturally sacred materials and ancestral bodies from offshore collections to home.

 KŌIWI is bones, ancestors, tribe, descendants, kaitiaki, guardian, dream

Bones are whakapapa. Kōiwi translates to bone but also means tribe (iwi), spirit, descendant, kaitiaki  and whakapapa. Poroiwi is skeleton. Waka Kōiwi is a vessel for burying bones and Rua Kōiwi is the burial place. Te Wheiao is a liminal space, transitional space, a place, between places, a third space.

“An unavoidable place through which one must travel to have full understanding. It is after darkness, but before light. It is the birthplace of all ideas. A site of great discovery or rampant with anxiety. Regardless, it is a necessary place.” – Anahera Gildea*

This work acts as a continuum of investigation Victoria Hunt’s been engaged in for more than a decade, centred on Hinemihi, her ancestral spirit-house (Marae), ‘acquired’ as a souvenir by the Governor-General of NZ in 1890 and shipped to Surrey, England. Hinemihi is a grandmother ancestor, her carved door lintel (her pelvis) is in an auction house in Paris, valued at 3 million US$. “Performing my role as custodian is fundamental to me as an artist/activist, as we are bound through whakapapa/genealogy.” – V Hunt.

*Bone Shame: Grief, Te Ao Māori, and the liminal space where translation fails, by Anahera Gildea, CORDITE Poetry Review, 1st May 2018.

Victoria Hunt (Māori choreographer, dancer, AU) brings together collaborators Moe Clark (Métis vocalist, sound designer, drum carrier, Turtle Island), Boris Bagattini (new media artist,  lighting designer, performance artefacts designer, AU), and James Brown (sound designer, composer, AU), for a first stage creative development of KŌIWI.


Rex Cramphorn Studio




Mar 24 2023


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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