Transcript of the Artist in Residence 2016 - Kate Parker video
[video: Harp music plays. Title of the video displays - Artist in Residence 2016. Anawhata - Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Paper Worlds by Kate Parker. Auckland Council logo (pōhutukawa flower over water) displays throughout the video in the top right corner. A series of nature scenes - palm tree leaves blowing in the wind, a hill against a background of the blue sea and sky, a country road with grass and green, lush plants along each side, a view from a hilltop down to a beach with many white-topped waves coming in. Residence on a hillside amongst greenery. Old tree with the residence on the background.]
Kate: My name is Kate Parker and I am generally a theatre practitioner.
[video: The artist, Kate Parker, exiting the residence at the front door. Kate walking through the front yard, passing the picnic table and going for a walk towards the beach.]
Kate: I work in physical theatre and generally devising and creating story and theatrical device to tell those stories that might come up.
[video: Photo of a theatre group artists with springbok glove puppets on their hands. Photo of a theatre scene showing a knee-high mouse puppet. Photo of a theatre scene showing an artist holding a puppet and walking it towards a thigh-high paper forest. Photo of the same puppet, the artist holding the wires that control it. Kate, the artist, walking on the beach. The title of her residency work appears – Paper Worlds. Kate at the beach, looking up at the clifftop.]
Kate: With this work I’ve been… in a way doing a similar thing, creating story, but it’s being devised but the actors are bits of paper and the landscapes are, you know, the set is these landscapes.
[video: Kate in the residency, talking, at her work desk. The desk is covered in cut out paper, a cutting mat and a notebook. At the back, against the window, are scenes created using layers of cut out paper mounted in cardboard boxes on their sides with the bottom cut out or plywood box frames without backs, so that light from the window comes through the layers of paper creating darker areas where there are more layers. The view of the cliffs, beach and the sea that Kate can see from the window against which her work desk sits.]
Kate: So it’s kind of a cross-over and I think it’s probably more like visual art.
[video: Kate picks up a large piece of paper and lays it down on the cutting mat. She cuts along pencil lines on the paper with a fine silver craft scalpel. Kate standing, leaning over her work desk, cutting the paper.]
Kate: I’ve always loved working with paper and in my creative practice in theatre, we often work with paper and cardboard and use it in different ways. Often as a starting point, a springboard to whip up some kind of puppet or creature or something that you might use. And then I’ve often played around with shadow puppets. And this has been such an amazing opportunity to utilise those skills but also kind of develop them in a way.
[video: Kate sitting at her work desk, talking.]
Kate: I’m finding as I’m working… because I’ve never spent this long, kind of, working on a project where I’m cutting out stuff – it’s usually brief and for a specific moment in a show or something like that - I’m learning so much.
[video: Kate leaning over her work desk, cutting paper. She lifts away what she has cut, leaving the shape of a tree branch on the cutting mat. She lifts the tree, now completely cut out, off the mat. Views through the residency window – beach, clifftops, trees, palm trees, little brook and other greenery, the work desk in front of the window. Tūī bird call. Kate sitting at her work desk, talking.]
Kate: Working in this amazing, magical location, like when they said okay, well we can bring some trestle tables in for you, and, so I got myself set up on the first day and I put the things there and I thought…oh my god! You know you look out the window, oh my god look at that sea pounding in there! I often kind of lean out the window and I’m kind of going – oh my gosh, is that a whale?
[video: Kate, talking excitedly, leans across her desk to look out of the window.]
Kate: And I’m watching, and I’m watching the surf and watching…I find that I’m just looking out the window quite often.
[video: Kate leaning her cut out tree against a picture frame. The Waitakere Ranges in the background.]
Kate: Because I’m working with elements, I’m working with trees and birds and the sea, to have it right there…and the tree, like I’ve been looking at the way the trunk is formed and it’s right there!
[video: Large tree. Tūī and birds chirping. A cut out paper cabbage tree in top of paper with writing in pencil on it. Cut out paper birds on top of a photo of a huia bird in flight. Layers of cut out paper. The view out the window towards the Waitakere Ranges. The big old tree that the artist can see through the window while sitting at her desk. Kate sitting at her work desk, talking.]
Kate: I don’t need to go to my photograph album and have a look, or… You know, I can just look out the window! And that has just been amazing.
[video: The view through another window in the residence, toward the beach and Waitakere Ranges. The view from beside the big old tree, with a swing hanging from the tree to one side. Waves crashing on the beach. Kate walking on the beach barefoot.]
Kate: This is the fifth week of the eight weeks.
[video: Kate walking through a small river that runs into the sea.]
Kate: As far as work is concerned I think I’ve just been, essentially, over the last five weeks, gaining some kind of balance between family life and being an artist.
[video: Photo of a man and three children on the beach, the children drawing in the sand with sticks. Photo of two girls running on the beach, toward the camera, barefoot. A group of people sitting on the slope of sand dunes, two adults, one child in togs standing, and four other children sitting. Three young girls run into the shallow water, two adults stand in the background.]
Kate: It’s the challenge of being a parent I think and being the main caregiver, and just trying to enjoy everything as it comes.
[video: A photo of five children outside the residency - a little boy sitting on the ground; a little girl, standing next to him to the right, while another girl climbing the hill close to the boy’s other side, to the left. Other two girls, around five to seven years of age, are swinging on the swings, off the big old tree outside the residency as well.]
[video: Harp music. Kate walking along the beach with her shoes in her hand and a hat on her head. Stopping, bending down and looking closely at the rocks – a crab appears among the rocks moving away as Kate’s shadow falls on it. Background music plays. Kate walking barefoot along the waters edge. Image of mist moving up a valley in the Waitakere Ranges. Close ups of kauri tree trunks and crowns.]
Kate: In terms of research, I guess I just was interested in the kauri, interested in the fact that there was a great forest here and that it covered the entire Auckland area, and that the trees were huge. And it was a great, great forest.
[video: Kate hiking in a kauri forest, at dawn, with a man and a woman. The sound of the birds’ call in a background. Text - Kokako dawn chorus visit. Kate's face has a look of wonder. Two tūī fly in and out of tree tops, the view beyond is of suburbia and areas of mist or cloud. Kate sitting in the grass back at the residency; talking and gesturing with her hands. Cicadas chirping. Tūī bird calling.]
Kate: When I first decided the idea I was thinking I’m going to make a film, I really want to make a little stop-motion film that’s puppeted, that would come to life and it would be a paper world and things would move and stuff would happen.
And I still love that idea, but as I’ve gone on for this project they’ve become these little moments in boxes. And actually as I’ve gone along I’ve thought, this is actually more like I’m making a picture book. I’m making a story book, and each picture has action in it but is still.
I never thought I’d actually really want to make that, because I’m a movement person… I really… I love moving and I love watching movement and I love working with actors and creating movement. And I love things that come to life, I love inanimate things that come to life that carry a magic. So it’s quite interesting, I’m sort of slightly falling in love with static.
So yeah, I think I’m making a picture book at the moment.
[video: A tūī sits on a flax flower spike, plants and greenery on either side and waves on the beach in the background. The tūī flies away.]
Kate: I couldn’t start writing the story until I got here, and actually it wasn’t until I got here that I really cut out any of the finished ideas and actually brought them to life in the box.
[video: The residency, from the outside, and Kate inside at her desk drawing while looking at her paper cut outs arranged in the open-box plywood frame. Inside, many plywood box frames hold paper cut outs of trees, hills and birds.]
Kate: But I always seem to keep coming back to this little character who’s like a little being of the forest.
[video: A paper cut out scene of a character that looks like a small girl in a dress, standing in the branches of a tree. The character's long hair ends in points, like a kōwhai flower's petals. A paper cut out scene of the same girl falling, surrounded by kōwhai flowers. Layered paper cut outs of kōwhai flowers and leaves.]
Kate: She’s born from a kōwhai flower. She lives in a great forest with these huge, giant trees.
[video: Two pieces of work in plywood box frames in front of a window. A different piece of work in front of the window shows the little character standing next to a big tree. She holds a bag, shaped like a kōwhai flower, with a paper cut out representation of 'light' in and above it.]
Kate: She goes and gathers light from different sources. She might gather it from the kōwhai flower, or she might gather it from the moon, she’s got a little ladder that goes all the way to the moon. And she pours light on the trees.
[video: Three pieces of work in front of the window. One shows the character next to the big tree, one is of a big tree tipped on it's side with hills in the background, one is of a ladder up to the moon, both next to a large tree. Series of close ups - the character next to the big tree with her 'light bag', the character pouring something out of a basket next to a tree, the ladder leading high up to the moon, the character pouring from her basket next to the tree with the bottom of the ladder on the other side of the tree. A paper cut out scene of the character standing on a hillside next to a valley. Smoke rises from the valley behind bare tree trunks. The character holds in front of her a dead bird. Another scene shows a paper cut out of a man with an axe raised above his head as if to chop wood. A wider view of the scene shows that he is chopping at the base of the big tree that is on its side. Cicadas chirping.]
Kate: Basically the story, in a way, is like a story of colonisation, of the waves of people that have come. From when the giants lived in this forest alone, and then people came, and then more people came, and then other stuff came and then everything got cut down.
[video: Paper cut out scene of a double hulled, canoe-like boat with two triangular sails, on a wave, the character stands in a tree looking out to it. Another scene shows large rats running off European ships onto the shore while birds fly away and the character watches.]
Kate: And the little character remains, and has the seeds for the trees and then…
[video: The character sitting high up in the tree branches with a fantail bird in her clasped hands. Kate, sitting and talking.]
Kate: At the moment I haven’t got the end of the story but in my mind I’m like – more people come and the seeds are given and the forest grows again, and it becomes a new forest of giants.
[video: A paper cut out scene of the Waitakere Ranges and sea waves coming together. Kate's work desk with many paper cut out scenes in plywood box frames on it, in front of the window. Kate sitting in the grass, talking. Cicadas chirping.]
Kate: There’s something about being in the energy of this rugged terrain, and maybe it’s also too about being away from… All those beaming, blinkin’ wi-fis and… There’s something about the stillness and the peacefulness that clears your head, that you can actually hear a bit clearer I think. But I do go – oooh if only I could stay here for a year, what would it be then, what would you hear?
[video: The front of the residency and the big old tree. Birdsong. Kate walking on the beach smiling. Kate walks into the waves, up to her knees. The sound of waves. Fade to black. Photos of Arataki Visitors Centre and scenes of the exhibition at the visitors centre, including Kate talking to guests and the displays of the paper cut out scenes. Harp music. Text - Kate Parker’s residency exhibition ‘Kōwhai and the Giants’. Many thanks to Kate Parker. Thanks also to Kate's whanau: Jeremy, Nan, Rosie, Rhys, Kowhai, Eddi, Elsa, Lucan, Holly and Nina. Forest and Bird: Gillian Wadams. Arataki Visitor Centre: Glenn Browne. Park Ranger: Dan Real. Still from The Arrival and Paper Sky: Red Leap Theatre. Family photographs courtesy of Rhys van Kan. The Sleeping Keeper performed by Helen Webby. Composer Claire Cowan – Artist in Residence 2011. Artist in Residence Co-ordinator: Michelle Edge. Director, Camera, Editor: Kirsty MacDonald. 2017. Paper cut out scene of the character releasing 'light' into the air. Auckland Council logo, aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.]