The Haupapa project is a collaboration between a mountaineer-glaciologist Heather Purdie, sound artist/designer Rachel Shearer (Rongowhakāta Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngati Kahungungu), video artist Janine Randerson, Kai Tahu orator Ron Bull 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. Through audio-visual modes of gifting and listening we approach Haupapa as ancestor, a shape-shifting, dynamic collaborator. Tiny bubbles of ancient breath and atmosphere are pressed inside Haupapa’s glacial ice —including sea breezes, pollens, carbon dioxide and methane, and 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 Spring Equinox 2022 (September 23 -November 2022), to form a live internet-based artwork artists based on physical data of wind, underwater video of glacial fragments and live hydrophone recordings of the ice. This material is represented as abstract patterns using live signals from Aoraki maunga and Haupapa glacier. Ron Bull’s voice is woven through the sound and images to connect these images to the Kai Tahu kupu, words and names of the ancestors. Audiences become attuned to climate change through patterns of data, voice and sensorial means.

The fast recession of Haupapa glacier and the expansion of the lake below is a strong barometer of climate change from a scientific perspective. We respond to an urgent tipping point where, by any means we can muster, we must engage creatively with social and ecological politics of the climate crisis. We are dealing with water scarcity on the one hand, diminishing glaciers in our cultural and natural heritage, and extreme weather events such as floods and increasingly severe storms and coastal erosion all around Aoteaora New Zealand, and the planet.

About the artists

Ron Bull

Ron Bull is Tumuaki Whakaako at Otago Polytechnic. He is part of the Kaihaukai Art Collective, who with Simon Kaan, has produced social exchanges based around food nationally and internationally, including at ISEA, International Symposium of Electronic Arts 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.