Chloe Mason assembles a portal to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington’s Mākara Beach in The Sea and the Self is an Old Conversation (2023). Mason combines Super 8 film footage and recited poetry to draw from hydro feminism, auto theory, and shetland folklore. She enlists seaweed to develop her black-and-white imagery, surrendering the process to it’s agency. The combined properties of wai, water, and rimurimu, seaweed, provide lush textures and tones in her visual imagery. The exercise of monitoring shoreline toxicity levels and tidal frequencies, combined with selecting healthy seaweed, allows for a collaborative process that provides both fortuitous and unpredictable results. Nature itself dictates the success of the developed film as measurements, temperature, and timing alter the consistencies in the image quality. Collaborating with seaweed in The Sea and the Self is an Old Conversation provides non-human organisms with the potential for self-expression and artistic control.

Chloe Mason graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Toi Rauwhārangi Massey College of Creative Arts in 2023. Mason is interested in alternative photographic techniques employed to push the boundaries of modern photography. The Sea and the Self is an Old Conversation was previously exhibited in the 2023 Massey Exposure Graduate Show.

The Sea and the Self is an Old Conversation is part of Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Rear Window Moving Image Programme, which showcases moving image works by contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas artists.

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