lost dream[s] by Ardit Hoxha is a large-scale text-based work that quotes the Final Statement (1950) of William Lewis Robertson, an advocate and campaigner for consumer co-ops in 1940’s New Zealand. Robertson hoped to establish supermarkets which would redirect profits back to the communities they served. His plans included a health centre, cultural and recreational facilities, expanding to a co-op shopping precinct that intended to include all amenities. To Robertson’s dismay, the proposal was short-lived, with the first Labour Government withdrawing its initial support for the scheme, for fear of alienating business allies. Penning his ‘Final Statement’ in response, Robertson took his life shortly after, having become increasingly disillusioned by the failure of his advocacy.
Across Te Tuhi’s billboard sites in Pakuranga and Parnell, Hoxha addresses two perspectives taken from the conclusion of Robertson’s text;
“To those who dislike experiment, or who think that we in New Zealand have nothing to learn, that our ways of living have… reached perfection and cannot be improved upon,” / “But to those who think otherwise,”
Interested in utopian urban projects and social design, Hoxha considers Robertson's vision alongside the empty potential of the Pakuranga Plaza, which sits patiently awaiting investment. Hoxha, like Robertson, invites us to imagine an alternative future, one untethered to private capital.
About Ardit Hoxha
Ardit Hoxha is an artist and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Hoxha has a BFA with first-class honours from Elam School of Fine Arts, alongside a BA in media and anthropology from the University of Auckland. More recently, he has completed an honours year in sociology, with a focus on critical theory and is currently undertaking a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Auckland. In 2022, Hoxha was a recipient of a Samoa House Library research grant and developed a radio play for the Centre of Narrative Practice, as part of Manifesta 14 in Prishtina, Kosovo.