Jill Stegmann's video installation, Learning the Language of Volcanoes, is of the sea coming ashore on to the rocks on Waverley Beach.

The famous Hole in the Rock once stood on this beach until the sea eroded the land mass and it became three rocks.

The steps where people climbed up on to the rock to fish are captured in the video, as are the moving grasses and sea animals on the rocks, against the constant calming sound of the sea.

The video was Mrs Stegmann's contribution to a group exhibition, Littoral Drift.


She said she was looking at the ocean, but the reason for the title came about through her understanding of the layers of the cliffs along the South Taranaki coastline, where those in the group developed their works for Littoral Drift.

The top layers of the cliffs were fine and silty sand where volcanic ash landed. This rich ash has helped form the Taranaki dairy lands. The "language of volcanoes" is the interplay of the earth and water moving, Mrs Stegmann says.

The geometric forms over which the moving image flows are inspired by two big faults that run out to sea and form a graben, a geological term for a large portion of the earth's crust that has dropped down between two deep active fault lines.

Adding to the installation are the folders for maps that Mrs Stegmann found at the Sustainable Whanganui shop at the Resource Recovery Centre.

The named areas on the folders expand the language of the installation.

Mrs Stegmann says she is "heart-sore" at what is happening to the black sand beaches.

"New Zealand is beautiful and it is being exploited economically. These black sands may not be there for long."

Learning the Languages about Volcanoes, Rena Starr's Gallery, 62 Guyton St from today to Sunday, 11am-4pm.