going, gone

I was invited to participate in the group show ’Going, Gone’, on the theme of endangered species and extinctions, at Articulate project space in Sydney, November 15 – 01 December 2019, and created three inter-related works.

vexatious extinction equation matches a human invention and a species extinction for each of 69 years from 1900 to 2018. Each pairing is presented as an A3 poster with text and a digital drawing of the extinct species. I made the drawings, inspired by the visual language of east Asian shadow puppets, using a popular digital image software (invented in 1988) – the outlines are drawn with the lasso tool and each white dot is a single mouse click. Each drawing took between 45-60 minutes to create, time in which I thought about the now forever extinct species. The posters are presented in a large spatial grid to occupy one wall of the exhibition space.

sighting (wishful thinking) is a simple photo essay illustrating excerpts from an entry by John Gould in his 1848 publication ‘Birds of Australia in 7 volumes’ for the now extinct parrot Nestor productus which was endemic to the tiny adjacent Pacific ocean islands, Norfolk and Philip.

High in the rafters of the triple-height atrium space of the old industrial building that now houses the gallery, a kite is suspended. Modelled after Japanese kites, I made it with bamboo, shoji paper and rice glue, with a ‘folk art’ style painting of the extinct Nestor parrot soaring against clouds and a blue sky.

across a distance continues the theme of the Nestor genus of parrots. Here, field recordings of the two extant species of Nestor parrots (N. notabilis and N. meridionalis) are contained within a 4m long cardboard tube. At one end of this tube is a listening point (a repurposed water bottle) where visitors can hear the, at turns, comical and plaintive calls and song of these critically endangered, highly intelligent and playful birds, endemic to the islands of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The piece is an experiential metaphor for our increasing distance from direct connection with wild nature.