Stitches and time

I went to the New Gallery today.

Now, I once read a book about shopping behaviour. It reckoned that most people, when they first enter a shop, will turn to the right. But I always turn left. This may have something to do with me being left-handed, or perhaps it’s just an inbuilt contrariness.

So I arrived at the Te Hei Tiki exhibit and turned to the left. What I didn’t realise is that if I’d started from the right, I would have seen the exhibit in a kind of historically chronological order, starting with a giant rock of greenstone, to a collection of tikis, to European settlers impressions of them, to the first appearance of tiki in New Zealand culture, to the kitsch period (which surely reached its apex with the Beatles’ comedy-sized tiki), then concluding with contemporary artists’ take on the tiki.

But instead I saw it in reverse order, starting with the resin tiki lollipops and moving back in time through the tiki tea towels and ending with the video of the journey of greenstone.

So I think it ended up being not much of an exploration of hei tiki, more just a collection of things that incorporate tikis. It like like stepping into a Wikipedia entry on tikis rather than an art exhibit.

Downstairs was a selection of artwork from the Chartwell collection. I was initially repulsed by the really badly written descriptions on the information cards. It was written in a really slangy style, either by someone who was trying to sound youthful or perhaps by someone who just couldn’t help writing like that. In the end I gave up reading the cards because it just pissed me off too much.

But there was one piece I really liked. It was a giant cross-stitch work by Stella Brennan. She’d taken a screen shot of her computer desktop and used that as a cross-stitch pattern. Each pixel became one cross-stitch. It neatly captured a Mac OS 8 (I think) desktop from 2001, complete with a downloaded Big Brother video file icon.

I’m almost inspired to do a similar project with my desktop, but the resolution and all the anti-aliasing would make it a laborious task indeed.

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