What is it like to live, as many of us in the Southern Hemisphere do, with our eyes forever on a different part of the world?

Pacific Real Time, a 2016 Auckland Art Fair Project, uses contemporary art to explore what it means to be a Pacific artist or art professional in a globalised world, particularly one which has been dominated by northern hemisphere mores, morals and institutions.

For most of the 20th century, New Zealand's main cultural drivers were Euro-American.

Michael Parekowhai's Kapa Haka (Maquette) 2014. Automotive paint on fibreglass.
Michael Parekowhai's Kapa Haka (Maquette) 2014. Automotive paint on fibreglass.

Art fairs are a remnant example of this, dating back to the Paris Salon and the Venice Biennale (which started, in 1895, as a commercial fair and was run this way until the 1950s).

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But do these old affinities hold or even matter now that the digital revolution means people today can be everywhere at once? Anyone can be here and cyber travel can pitch us nearly anywhere, too, while New Zealand is increasingly realising its place in the Asia-Pacific region.

Richard Lewer's Untitled 2016, acrylic on sandpaper.
Richard Lewer's Untitled 2016, acrylic on sandpaper.

Curators Jarrod Rawlins (curator, Mona, Hobart) and Simon Rees (director, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth), with help from Francis McWhannell, have selected work from proposals by galleries involved in the fair, independent artists and non-profit arts agencies.

Community Notice Board (Silverdale) 2015: Custom freestanding bulletin board, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminium plates, pins, staples, tape, and concrete.
Community Notice Board (Silverdale) 2015: Custom freestanding bulletin board, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminium plates, pins, staples, tape, and concrete.

Pacific Real Time comes from these and gathers together old-style televisions, a live-feed from Houston (think Nasa, Houston calling), a work that relates to the Southern Cross Cable linking New Zealand to the wider world, coconuts on plinths, and all sorts of free-floating texts. They'll be dotted throughout the fair, asking fair-goers to pause for a moment and consider the challenges and failures of modern living, ideas linked to travel and migration and how art, life has changed in the digital age and what it all means for us in the Pacific.

Auckland Art Fair, The Cloud, Wednesday-Sunday.