Performative
practice

Visual Arts

Performative practice -

Testing behaviours and beliefs

From the gentle to the provocative, artist Layne Waerea questions everyday boundaries and assumptions.


Performative art – as part of a visual arts practice – allows for social and physical engagement of the artwork with any willing participant or viewer. It is a practice that is usually initiated by an action or event; it can be dramatic or subtle; it may happen once or unfold over time; and it can include a variety of modes of documentation and re-presentation. A performative approach provides a strong platform on which to explore concepts and issues around identity, on account of its multiple dimensions and platforms, and opportunity for interaction and dialogue.

Artist Layne Waerea works in this event-based and interactional space. A lawyer by training – where precedent, transaction and negotiation are the modus operandi – she was naturally drawn to a performative practice, where she could explore ideas outside the studio. Not only can she engage with the public (and sometimes the authorities) on socio-political issues, but she can also experiment with performative practice in brave and experimental ways. Early works, like the enigmatic Māori Lane and Koha I, have seen her contest quasi-legal and social boundaries in the grey zone between acceptable and unorthodox behaviour.

The platform for her PhD research is the Treaty of Waitangi and traditional Māori concepts of kaitiakitanga/guardianship and collective ownership of natural resources. Her motivation is to provoke serious thought and discussion through the performance of everyday activities in public spaces – with a measured dose of black humour – to question rules related to ownership and property. By exploring and exposing many of the contradictions, inequities and plain absurdities inherent in resource ownership in Aotearoa New Zealand, she creates a fresh and engaging space for discussion.

Summary

Project Name

PhD thesis, Silent injunctions: Requiring Maori to treat

Department

Visual Arts

Researcher

Layne Waerea

Layne Waerea

Artist

Layne Waerea (Te Arawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, New Zealand/Pākehā) is an Auckland artist currently working towards her PhD. Her Māori ancestry and value base, and background in law, create a framework in which she interrogates socio-political issues from within the visual arts. The main focus of her practice-based research is to see how performance art interventions in public spaces can allow us to question the socio-cultural and legal rules that govern our behaviours and beliefs.

Artist Layne Waerea works in this event-based and interactional space. A lawyer by training – where precedent, transaction and negotiation are the modus operandi – she was naturally drawn to a performative practice, where she could explore ideas outside the studio. Not only can she engage with the public (and sometimes the authorities) on socio-political issues, but she can also experiment with performative practice in brave and experimental ways. Early works, like the enigmatic Māori Lane and Koha I, have seen her contest quasi-legal and social boundaries in the grey zone between acceptable and unorthodox behaviour.

The platform for her PhD research is the Treaty of Waitangi and traditional Māori concepts of kaitiakitanga/guardianship and collective ownership of natural resources. Her motivation is to provoke serious thought and discussion through the performance of everyday activities in public spaces – with a measured dose of black humour – to question rules related to ownership and property. By exploring and exposing many of the contradictions, inequities and plain absurdities inherent in resource ownership in Aotearoa New Zealand, she creates a fresh and engaging space for discussion.

Free Air, 2014

The audience is not guaranteed, but I don’t usually seek one. The action stimulates participation with the idea either at the time, or when it is re-presented at a conference or artist talk.

Layne Waerea

Free Air

Waerea’s recent work Free Air was held in Governor Fitzroy Place, Auckland, in 2014. A sandwich board advertised free air, which was contained in a large clear plastic bag tied to the sign. The work questioned public behaviour toward use and ownership of public space, of rights and ownership of seemingly basic but valuable natural resources. As well as the performative action of holding a free air stall, this work consists of documentation by still and moving image that has formed part of a public presentation, internet blog, International Film Festival screening and print publication.

Margie, 2014

The chasing fog club

The chasing fog club is an open invitation for any member of the public to chase fog. Joining the club entails submitting a photo or video as evidence of your interest in fog, with new members receiving a free club T-shirt. The project encourages active participation, and in the process questions what is acceptable behaviour in public spaces. Beyond the veneer of fun in this work is a more serious concern about the ownership and use of land and water. The work comprises films and images submitted by the public to www.chasingfogclub.wordpress.com, with AGMs and presentations held at conferences and public galleries.