Artspace Aotearoa is pleased to present Te Moana Meridian, an exhibition by Sam Hamilton. Te Moana Meridian is formed around a radical proposal to the United Nations: to relocate the prime meridian from Greenwich, London, to Te Moana-Nui-ā-Kiwa.
Te Moana Meridian explores how the arbitrary location of the prime meridian reinforces British and Western imperial and colonial hegemony, historically, and into the present. Through a polyphony of tactics the exhibition proposes a practical means for redressing this skewing of global diplomacy. In centering Te Moana-Nui-ā-Kiwa, the exhibition proposes a more equitable and multilateral system for negotiating time and space.
An installation with five-channel video, Te Moana Meridian features an international cast of performers, artists and practitioners, including: Mere Tokorahi Boynton (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tūhoe), Holland Andrews (NYC, USA), Dr. Tru Paraha (Ngāti Hineāmaru, Ngāti Kahu o Torongare), Crystal Akins Meneses & The Lincoln City Children’s Choir (Oregon, US), Clara Chon (Aotearoa/NYC), Vaimaila Urale (Sāmoan/Aotearoa), Rhonda Tibble (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki), Alexa Stark (US) and others.
The prime meridian traverses land and water, connecting people across political boundaries and spatio-temporal pluralities. Te Moana Meridian opens a channel of possibility; foregrounding collaboration, critical inquiry, and art as a catalyst for political change.
Sam Tam Ham / Sam Hamilton
Sam Tam Ham / Sam Hamilton (he/they), b.1984, is an interdisciplinary artist and creative researcher of working-class Pākehā/British colonial settler descent, born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau who is currently based in Portland, OR, USA (on stolen Chinook territory) where they moved for love.
Sams practice functions more like an ecology than a discipline. A verdant swamp of creative and critical convergence. A nurturing nebula of becoming. A long song. A garden.
Embodied through sound, film, installation, writing, painting, and performance, Sam has presented their work at Whitechapel Gallery (London), Portland Art Museum (OR), Issue Project Room (NYC), ARTSPACE Aotearoa (Aotearoa), Locust Project (Miami), Transmediale (Berlin), Govett Brewster (Aotearoa), Plano B (Brazil) and more. Beyond their solo work, they have collaborated with many others around the world including spending 10 years producing and internationally touring work with the acclaimed Lemi Ponifasio / MAU Dance Company. They also spent significant time back in the day fondly running public DIY events in Tāmaki Makaurau such as the Alleluya Noise Festival, Cinema Ascension Festival, the NZIFF’s FPS Program, and other happenings.
Despite zero formal or academic qualifications, for their work, Sam has received such recognitions as the Starving Artist Award 2007, the NZ Arts Foundation New Generation Award in 2011, the prestigious national US Creative Capital Award in 2022 as well as multiple other arts grants, residencies, awards, and commissions from across Aotearoa, the US, and Europe.
Although a predominantly solo-centric practice, the production of their work is often indebted to the involvement and input of others. As it significantly relies on the creative agency and input of its many esteemed collaborators, Te Moana Meridian is no exception to this.
You can find more about Sam on their website here.
Mere Tokorahi Boynton
Mere Tokorahi Boynton (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Oneone and Ngāi Tūhoe) is a multitalented performance artist, singer, actor and Direcor Ngā Toi Māori for Tawhiri. She has developed her own unique style of performance that draws upon her classical vocal training and taha Māori.
Holland Andrews (they/them) is an American vocalist, composer, and performance artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Their work focuses on the abstraction of operatic and extended-technique voice to build soundscapes encompassing both catharsis and dissonance. Frequently highlighting themes surrounding vulnerability and healing, Andrews arranges music for voice, clarinet, and electronics. In addition to their acclaimed solo work, Andrews develops and performs soundscapes for dance, theater, and film, and their work is still toured nationally and internationally with artists such as Bill T. Jones, Dorothee Munyaneza, Will Rawls, and poet Demian Dinéyazhi. Andrews has gained recognition from publications such as The Wire, The New York Times, Electronic Sound, Uncut Magazine, Le Monde, and BBC Radio.
Tru Paraha (Ngāti Hine) is an astrochoreographer and poet with over two decades of professional experience in literary and performance arts. She has toured festivals in Malaysia, America, New Caledonia, England, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, and Belgium and is a former member of NZ performance company MAU. She has held artists' residencies in Tahiti, Japan, Australia, and Aotearoa. Tru received her Ph.D. and a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Auckland, where she lectures in the faculty of Arts.
The Lincoln City Children's Choir & Crystal Akins Meneses
Crystal is an American interdisciplinary creative who activates community music and art through activism and spiritual care. She is a 2019 recipient of the prestigious Oregon Humanities Fields Artist Fellowship, and Executive Director of Activate Arts Now, a not-for-profit organisation focused on inspiring arts activism in community, particularly youth arts access and youth public art engagement, as exemplified by the rural Lincoln City Children's Choir, and the free Artivate Arts Summer Camp she runs