#114: Concept Muscle; Queen of the Cosmos

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Edge Message #114 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM

Pictured above: Peter Jackson, Eleanor Catton, Kevin Roberts, Jonathan Porritt and Jenna Sauers


New Zealand headlines in this week’s sampling of global media appearing in The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The News Star, Guardian, Daily Mail, Travel + Leisure, Alaska Journal of Commerce, Sydney Morning Herald, Bloomberg, Irish Times, American Medical News, The Independent, Samay Live, News Miner and New York Times include:


Peter Jackson, Comic-Con star, praises fans enthusiasm; hopes it will rub off on Hollywood execs
Eleanor Catton, 23, author, in Iowa writing “fantastical” novel on gold rush – Irish Times
Kevin Roberts, nzedge.com co-founder, awarded Honorary Doctorate from Lancaster University
Jonathan Porritt, “sustainability ninja”, leaves UK’s independent watchdog SDC after nine years
Jenna Sauers, 23, model and pseudonymous fashion insider reveals identity – Guardian
Fiordland earthquake, strongest in 78 years, shakes NZ 12 inches closer to Australia – Bloomberg
Hew Mcleod, Dunedin historian and world-renowned Sikh scholar dies, 77 – Samay Live
Carol Diebel, former Te Papa director, to head UA Museum of the North, Alaska
NZ Wine Industry’s “growing glut” of Sauvignon Blanc threatens Australia’s wine exports
Team New Zealand win “difficult” MedCup Sardinia Trophy on Mistral – Independent on Sunday
Wellington, place where film geeks satisfy cinematic cravings – The Boston Globe
Cheryl McKnight’s 8cm-high Maltese pup potential Guinness Record – Los Angeles Times
Ivan Yukich, Brancott, Montana wine “visionary”; NZ’s “star rising” – The News Star
Classic Campers’ VW Kombis make for “up-close and personal” travel  – Los Angeles Times
Anna Paquin in LA’s Gjelina’s, not nervous, but “offbeat and wry” – Daily Mail
Kauri Cliffs’ The Lodge; Cape Kidnappers’ The Farm, voted no.1 and 2 in region by Travel + Leisure
P750 XTOL, Hamilton-made aircraft, to rival Cessna over Alaska – Alaska Journal of Commerce
New Zealand enticing medical destination for US doctors seeking change – American Medical News


CONCEPT MUSCLE: JULIAN DASHPHER 1960–2009Our friend Julian Daspher, artist, died on 30 July, aged 49, in Auckland. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed. What he leaves is his art – his early paintings and a substantial body of conceptual art exploring location and art itself. Julian signed up with nzedge early, a decade ago. He was already making the local/global trip. Curator Christina Barton has written that Julian had “the unique perspective of attending to an internationalist art history from a distance, enabling him to devise strategies to work around his geographical isolation whilst simultaneously articulating its effects.” He undertook a project in three editions of the premier international contemporary art magazine, Artforum. “Julian was not at ease with the institutions of art, and rightly so, maintaining a distance which was energising. Distance becomes us, and, in 1992 he inserted an exhibition-as-advertisement in Artforum magazine. ArtfromNew Zealand comically defied the politics and constraints of the one-way conversation, and marked out the possibilities of the self made guy” (Natasha Conland). Julian was a connector, a hustler in Texan boots, an internationalist from West Auckland. The list of his international exhibitions are the story of his working life: Trieste, Leiden, Topolove, Canberra, Aachen, Haarlem, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Kluzé, Saskatchewan, Sydney, Versa, Copenhagen, Tokyo, London, Marfa, Berlin, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Houston, Oxford, Los Angeles, Athens, Brussels, Sioux City, San Luis Obispo, Lincoln, New York City, Wichita, Melbourne, Oslo, Birmingham, Vienna, Basel, Toowoomba, Den Haag, Durban, Staten Island. A true edgster, Julian worked from remote locations. Of his 2005 Iowa exhibition, Larry Taylor wrote “Sioux City is just off of about everyone’s map, even in an era of MapQuest. Perhaps that, ironically, makes it the place to begin reasserting some concept muscle: less hampered by the standard coastal baggage, such a locale offers its artistic self tabula rasa.” Indeed. And just to confound the notion of what a conceptual artist is or should be, Julian was a big fan, nay, a believer, in the Warriors aka the Auckland-based rugby league team that delivers ecstasy and agony in equal measures. During his illness Julian would fortify himself with a video of Ruben Wiki hammering a Roosters player (“he’s in Disneyland!”). Big Ruben visited Julian in hospital a few weeks before his death, with the message “stay strong and keep going.” He did, and his art ensures he will. Tears and cheers to Marie and Leo.




Cosmologist, violinist, teacher, mentor and nzedge Hero, Beatrice Tinsley, is the subject of a new 20-part series on Radio New Zealand Concert called The Stars are Comforting: The Letters of Beatrice Tinsley. Produced by Adrienne Baron, the series airs Wednesday nights at 7pm, and is based on the internationally-recognised scientist’s letters to her family. Beatrice Tinsley was a truly extraordinary New Zealander whose work on how the evolution of galaxies affects the origin and size of the universe had a profound effect on scientific knowledge. But tragically she died of cancer in 1981 aged 40. Bob Brockie’s tribute to Tinsley’s life in the Dominion Post this week encapsulated her as “daughter of a one-time mayor of New Plymouth, she overcame almost insuperable odds to become a scientist and professor of astronomy at Yale University.” For further information on this stellar New Zealander’s story be sure to have a look Christine Cole Catley’s fantastic biography Bright Star: Beatrice Hill Tinsley, Astronomer.





LONDON, September 10 – October 10 2009: ‘ethKnowcentrix: Museums Inside the Artist’. October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL.
Artists Shigeyuki Kihara, George Nuku, Rosanna Raymond and Lisa Reihana present mixed media and performance work exploring the idea of the ethnographic gaze in a major exhibition – the first of its kind in London – next month at the October Gallery. ‘ethKnowcentrix: Museums Inside the Artist’ reconsiders the spaces of meeting, looking and representing across cultures, and explores how the ethnographic gaze has been reciprocated and challenged. “With acerbic wit, these works promise to radically subvert the European legacy of museum classification, reclaim popular imagery of Pacific Island culture, and offer fresh perspectives for a shared global future.”

AUCKLAND, 21 August, 7pm, CBD-Connect, Rendevous Hotel
YMCA hosts its inaugural ‘CBD-Connect’ fundraiser event with nzedge.com co-founder Kevin Roberts as guest speaker. There will also be music performances by Tama Waipara and a poetry recital by ‘slam poet’ Courtney Meredith. For more info or to book a table, contact Michelle Delahunty at the YMCA, email michelle.delahunty@nzymca.com or phone 09 306 3750.

LOS ANGELES, until 29 August, Wall Drawings – Group Exhibiton
1301PE gallery hosts ‘Wall Drawings’, a new exhibition featuring work by Angela Bulloch, Kate Ericsson, Mel Ziegler, Jorge Méndez Blake, and New Zealander John Reynolds. Visit 1301PE websitefor further details.



Here are the Top 10 titles for July:

  1. Flare – A Ski Trip, NFU short film 1977 – Funky promotional doco featuring snow ‘ski ballet’
  2. The Leading Edge, feature film, 1987 – Extreme 80’s  thrill-seekers pushing it to the edge
  3. Peter Snell – Athlete, NFU short film 1964 – 800m Gold Medalist’s story leading up to Tokyo
  4. Britten: Backyard Visionary, doco 1993 – Story of maverick motorcycle designer John Britten
  5. Trio at the Top, doco 2001 – NZ motor-racing legends McLaren, Hulme and Amon
  6. Games 74, NFU film 1974 – Chronicle of the Christchurch Commonwealth Games
  7. Gloss, TV series 1987 – Yuppies, shoulder-pads, Walkmen; 80s cult “glitter soap”
  8. Play School, TV series 1975–1990 – Iconic educational programme for preschoolers
  9. Kaikohe Demolition, feature film 2004 – Florian Habicht’s doco about a Northland derby
  10. Bred to Win, NFU short film 1968 – An insight into thoroughbred racehorse breeding in NZ




STEINLAGER ON THE EDGE The “They’re drinking our beer here” ads for Steinlager in the 1980s were a benchmark for internationalism-from-the-edge. Cultural cringe be damned, in the fanciest bars and swankiest hotels in New York, LA and London, “they” were drinking “our” beer. The brand wandered off in the late 90s, but has made a comeback with Steinlager Pure (“the taste of paradise in a bottle”) and now with Steinlager Edge – “the beer for people not prepared to compromise on any aspect of their full lives. Steinlager Edge is built on a belief that finding balance in life isn’t about doing less, but about doing everything.” Perhaps Lion have provided the basis for a new tourism proposition for New Zealand: Pure Edge. The TV ads are a little, er, metrosexual, for me, but I’d like to like to try a bottle or three. Thanks Lion – level 14, 100 Willis St, Wellington.

Top picture, Raumati South; above, Paekakariki Hill. More pictures at www.paradiseroad.com. Fern symbol via www.nzflag.com.


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