EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE     |     2018

Festival: LUX Light Festival, 18-27 May 2018

Digital Animation | 0:07:00:00, 25.00 fps, 1650 x 720
Media: Sound, animated projection, black screen
Site: Taranaki Wharf diving platform cut-out, Wellington
Music: “Edge” ©2017 Mark K. Johnson

In this installation for the Lux Light Festival 2018, letters of the alphabet cascade like a waterfall from the cornice of a small building on Taranaki Wharf into the Wellington Harbour below. As the falling letters gain in intensity and momentum, they spell out lines from six poems along the Wellington Writers’ Walk, before disappearing into the turbulence again. As the letters tumble into the harbour, they become reflected back up onto the lower segment of the screen to create a cacophony of illumination. The work begins and ends with the New Zealand poet laureate Bill Manhire’s poem on the Writers’ Walk: “I live at the edge of the universe like everybody else”. The first letter to fall is a capital N; as it slowly rotates it becomes Z, then N and Z once more, before fading away at the bottom.

VUW Postgraduate Student Collaborators: Nicholas Kempster and Branislav Tosic

I live at the edge of the universe like everybody else

Edge of the Universe_imageEdge

These excerpts from 6 poems along the Wellington Writers’ Walk invite a larger story to unfold when placed together – a story about taking risks, learning from mistakes, making a difference, seeing the light within the darkness, and gaining wisdom over time.

I live at the edge
of the universe,
like everybody else.
(Bill Manhire: ‘Milky Way Bar’ in Milky Way Bar, Victoria University Press, 1991)

… there’s always an edge
here that one must walk which is sharp
and precarious, requiring vigilance.
(Patricia Grace: Cousins, Penguin Books, 1992)

It’s true you can’t live here by chance,
you have to do and be, not simply watch …
(Lauris Edmond: ‘The Active Voice’ in Scenes from a Small City, Daphne Brasell Associates Press, 1994)

Blue rain from a clear sky.
Our world a cube of sunlight –
but to the south
the violet admonition of thunder.
(Alistair Te Ariki Campbell: ‘Blue Rain’ in The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Collected Poems, Hazard Press, 2003)

Then with the coming of darkness the
bay opened up beneath us, like a shell splashed
with beads of light.
(Marilyn Duckworth: A Barbarous Tongue, Hutchinson, 1963)

And now, as I grow in years,
I feel at times like an old
violin played on by a master
hand. …
(Patrick Lawlor: Old Wellington Days, Whitcombe & Tombs, 1959)

I live at the edge
of the universe,
like everybody else.
(Bill Manhire: ‘Milky Way Bar’ in Milky Way Bar, Victoria University Press, 1991)


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