Down Side Up

This project stands the world on its head, providing a view of thought, technology, communication and art from a hybrid Polynesian view. Polynesian culture has been subjected to the same inequities as those reported of Africa. In addition, the West has gone on to colonise the internet where information has become power, and the power remains in Western control. In this project the world will be turned, so the down side is up.

It has been my honour to work among the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. Their origin is seafaring Polynesians. Māori refer to themselves as tangata whenua – the people of the land. There is a concept in Te Reo (the language) of Te Iarere. It means communication over vast distances – communication is not a limited condition for tangata whenua. This is just one simple undoing of colonial imposition on knowledge and culture.

The plan is to interview a kaumatua (elder), two tangata whenua artists who have worked with digital media, collaborate on a creative project with a tangata whenua artist and write about some of the distinctive components of Polynesian philosophy particularly those that usurp colonial notions. This will be put in a form amenable to placement on the web and mobile phones. The information could be in the form of data in a range potentially including written text, recorded conversations, visual and moving image responses to text questions, poetry, quotation, citation, scheduled updates, sequential image and circular text.