September 25, 2018
Roma Anderson’s Skylight, featured in our upcoming ARTWEEK show City Lights, investigates the power of reanimating still images as a form of documentary practice, and the method’s ability to translate the spirit of nostalgia and being, attached to the artists experience of position and temporarily.
Skylight is the manifestation of light, abstracted and separated into three spectrum's of understanding, representative of the past, present and future of the Tamaki river. The processing of the analogue imagery entails and therefore speaks to a greater entropy. A process of digital decay that parallels the environmental and colonial decay, caused by the violence that has historically plagued the Tamaki river and its surrounds at the hands of settlers, encroaching urbanisation, and pollution. The shifting images act as portals to the soul of the river, they are frameworks to restrain the river within history, or boundaries to be broken and eclipsed by its agency, vitality, and power.
Andersons own perspective is integral to this work, having grown up and resided at several different points along the waterway, she has become a conduit for the agency of this environment. Her deconstruction of how the Tamaki River is framed and valued, both aesthetically and politically, is an active protest of the marginalisation of New Zealand's waterways. By creating striking imagery that writhes across the screen, Anderson has developed a complex devotion to an issue that cannot be ignored.
How did you establish your style and how would you describe it?
I have really established my style through getting involved and invested in a process of heavy making in my photography and moving-image practice. In this way, working back-to-back, a lot of failed experiments and alternative methods ending up informing what I do next. I think a large part of my style is a recognizably alternative approach, breaking down conventions and bringing things together that don’t necessarily sit easily side-by-side; technology and the environment, the digital and the analogue, entropy and birth. My favorite ways to describe my style and practice lately is the idea of a ‘post-internet mudland’ (Shu Lea Cheang) and a ‘wood wide web’ (Robert Macfarlane).
Who or what are your biggest influences?
A lot of my influences come from theories of other minds and intelligences that are beyond human. I am interested in how the relationship between nature and humans is structured, aesthetically and experientially, and how I can subvert and play with these ideas and agencies. Some of my favorite practitioners include Pipalotti Rist, Janine Rawson, Kathleen Velo, and Joyce Campbell.
What is the one instrument indispensable to your creative process? What couldn't you work/live without?
An instrument indispensable to my creative process is definitely film, I love how tactile and unpredictable it can be and how there is an intermediary space between the image you take, and what actually develops.
How have you incorporated light into your creative process? Can you describe what that component aims to reveal or say about your work.
Light is integral to my creative process, I see it as a vibration that connects things and travels across space. I like to think of light as an exchange of sympathetic vibrations, and that my work is a medium to channel these through, a bridge between nature and human. I love playing with spectrums of light and how these can affect the experience of a place, the hyper-reality of the future, the recognizable present, and the memory of the past.
What does an illuminated Auckland mean to you?
An illuminated Auckland means an Auckland that is vibrant, alive and aware of its position in the world and what it means. It has a consciousness, and uses its lights inclusively to convey something greater to the world.
Written by Alicia Taylor