The fifth floor of Te Papa has long store-room like media room with a low ceiling. There’s a row of interactive/research computers against the wall that faces the entrance. And there are videos projected onto the wall at the far end of the room. The space is kind of an afterthought from an architectural point of view.
They where showing interviews of the eight or so artists in the current contemporary NZ artists exhibition that was next door, back to back, in a loop. There was a single viewers bench and speakers hanging from the ceiling. Each interview was around 5 minutes long.
The name of each artist was animated on at the start of each interview. A randomly timed reveal of each letter of the name, so that you were maybe tempted to guess what the name would be with the initial appeared letters?
At the end of the second interview I heard voices behind me (going from the one that I had happened upon). Almost loud voices. Like when someone is talking to someone else as they enter a room that you’re in, and they start talking louder so to include you in their conversation because they know you’re in there. So as they drew nearer I turned to see if I should know them, even though they were speaking German.
At the end of the bench two beautiful German tourists where standing there looking at me. So I stared back at them. The leader was blonde, the other one was brunette, girls. I was like Harry Solomon for a moment and then I shuffled over a little to give them even more room on the bench (so we all could have a fair share? Maybe it was a symmetry thing?).
They sat down and started talking again, this time more sedately, through the tail end of the interview. An architectural type of artist (sorry to use that word again, but he was).
They were suitably unimpressed by the gimmicky animation that announced the next interviewee, but quickly caught their breath in respect for the beauty and poise of the next artist. They pretended to listen and understand what she was saying, I suspected their English wasn’t actually that good.
They kept this act of reverence up for the duration. Like they were powering up somehow. Even though she didn’t really have anything to say.
The dyed blonde former waster who made jewellery with plastic, glue and metallic paint, who was the next artist, was certainly not meet with the same regard. Their scornful tone gave it all away, as they tried to describe the insult that had been put up before them.
But, BOY, she was really nothing compared to the third act; a gappy old man reading his poetry in ECU. There was a great deal of spluttered shock and cursing. To be fair, even I, in my gracious and superior acceptance or consideration and magnanimousness and PCness towards all possibilities, had to question the ECU.
So, they left in quite a hurry. With that bad sight in their eyes. Where they right? Was it contagious?
So, I finished watching them all, all on my lonesome. Diseased. Then I turned around to discover my brother had found me. And he took me back to the hospital. And BOY was I annoying. But it was ok, he was used to it.