Haupapa: The Chilled Breath of Rakamaomao assembles mountaineer-glaciologist Heather Purdie, sound artist/designer Rachel Shearer (Rongowhakāta Te Aitanga a Mahaki), moving image artist Janine Randerson, orator Ron Bull, of Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Waitaha whakapapa, and programmer Stefan Marks. We create a creative "weather report" from Haupapa/Tasman glacier, Aotearoa’s largest body of wai, water, a glacier formed from a deep exhalation of Aoraki, the ancestor-maunga, as he readied to speak. We respond to the "hau" of Haupapa, translated fluidly as moisture, air, breath, wind, tears and vitality. Within Kai Tahu whakapapa, Rakamaomao is related to Aoraki and is one of the progenitors of wind and weather. 

Through audio-visual modes of gifting and listening, we approach Haupapa as ancestor, a shape-shifting collaborator. Tiny bubbles of ancient breath and atmosphere are pressed inside Haupapa’s glacial ice – including sea breezes, pollens, carbon dioxide and methane, as well as the ash of Australian fires. We collectively attune to the glacier through Kai Tahu cosmologies, instruments of science, audio hydrophones and underwater camera receivers to more-than-human scales of aural and visual perception.

Live updates will be streamed continuously throughout the 2022 Spring equinox (23 September 2022 – November 2022) to form a live web-based artwork based on physical data of wind, underwater images of glacial fragments and live hydrophone recordings. This material is represented as abstract patterns using live signals from Aoraki and Haupapa glacier. Ron Bull’s voice is woven through the sound and images to connect these images to the Kai Tahu ngā kupu, words and names of the ancestors. We attune to weather patterns through pulsing data patterns, voice and our ears.

The accelerating change of state of Haupapa glacier into the grainy liquid expanse of Haupapa awa, the lake below, is a highly visible indicator of climate catastrophe. We respond to an urgent tipping point where we face water scarcity in some parts of our isles, and vanishing glaciers, flooding, severe storms and coastal erosion that meets rising seas on the other, as the whenua sinks incrementally back down to our watery origins.

About the artists

Ron Bull

Ron Bull is Tumuaki Whakaako at Otago Polytechnic. He is part of the Kaihaukai Art Collective and together with Simon Kaan has produced social exchanges based around food nationally and internationally, including at International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA) and Te Papa Museum. He is a Kai Tahu knowledge holder of Mātauranga Māori knowledge and a linguist. He has worked on collaborative art projects with artists such as Alex Monteith. He is a researcher on cross-cultural collaboration and engagement with place-based narratives through social art practice.

Stefan Marks

Stefan Marks is a Creative Technologist in the School of Future Environments at Auckland University of Technology. His main areas of research are collaborative extended reality (XR) and data visualisation or, as he prefers to call it, “data-driven, immersive storytelling”. Stefan creates tools to turn complex or abstract information into visual, audible and other sensory forms to allow the human brain to perceive, discover and understand patterns and relations. Some of his projects have dealt with earthquake data, the human nasal cavity anatomy, and artificial neural network connectivity.

Heather Purdie

Heather Purdie is a glaciologist at the University of Canterbury, with research expertise in glacier mass balance, dynamics and climate change, in a focus on mountain glaciers in Te Tiritiri-o-te-moana, the New Zealand Southern Alps. She is interested in glaciological change that occurs over short temporal scales. Most recently, she has been exploring rapid change at lake-calving glaciers, and the impact that crevasses have on glacier mass balance. She makes regular monitoring trips to Haupapa glacier and Lake Haupapa with a team of researchers.

Janine Randerson

Janine Randerson is an artmaker of video installations, 16mm films, sound and online artworks, and she often practices in collaboration with environmental scientists and community groups. Janine’s book Weather as Medium: Toward a Meteorological Art (MIT Press, 2018) focuses on modern and contemporary artworks that engage with our present and future weathers. Janine also facilitates art exhibitions, events and screening programmes.

Rachel Shearer

Rachel Shearer investigates sound as a medium through a range of sonic practices – installations, composing, recording, writing as well as collaborating as a sound designer or composer for moving image and live performance events. Active as an experimental musician releasing audio publications both locally and internationally, Shearer’s work builds on her research, which explores practices related to a listening to the earth through Māori and Western frameworks. She has received numerous public commissions for site-specific sound installations including the permanent nine-channel sound installation The Flooded Mirror on the Auckland waterfront.