(b. Wanganui, New Zealand, 1976; lives and
works in Dunedin, New Zealand)
COMMISSIONED BY Litmus Research Initiative
Bekah Carran, I Remember Golden Light, Wellington, 6 March 2009. Commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey
University for One Day Sculpture. Photos: Stephen Rowe
(click to enlarge)
I Remember Golden Light
Friday 6 March 2009, 00.00 - 23.59
Outside the National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth St, Wellington
> Click here for a map
> Click here for information from the Public Programme event
> Click here for David Cross' commissioned critical response
In 1995, Jacques Derrida wrote, "there's no archive without outside". Exploring the origin of the term 'archive', Derrida suggested that the urge to archive stems from a desire to address the unavoidable process of forgetting and in doing so, we must decide what is worthy of preserving – what is inside and what is outside.
The Alexander Turnbull Library (held in the National Library of New Zealand) was founded in 1918, upon the gift to the Crown of the collection of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull, a prominent early Wellington citizen. The National Library site on Molesworth Street hosted a temporary annexe for one day in early March.
Appearing self-made and informal in contrast to the concrete solidity of the National Library building, I Remember Golden Light offered the visitor only 24 hours in which to study a curious and intriguing collection of found images. The archive contained thousands of pictures which betray an anonymous, diligent collector seemingly obsessed by collating discarded materials to piece together a record of an impossibly beautiful, ideal environment.
Bekah Carran is known for her interest in utopian visions and architectural forms such as Welcome home my beautiful optimist (Artspace and Physics Room, 2006). Here Carran created her first site-responsive work by exploring the principles of the Turnbull Library - to enrich public understanding of the present and the past of the land and peoples of New Zealand and the Pacific – but extended those principles to contemporary media and the construction of pictorial representations of an ideal future.
Derrida maintained that the archive is not about the past "rather a question of the future, the very question of the future, the question of a response, of a promise and of a responsibility for tomorrow."
Commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University. Realised with generous funding support from the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, Creative New Zealand, Massey University Foundation and Massey University College of Creative Arts. Also supported by the National Library of New Zealand.
Bekah Carran, Welcome Home My Beautiful Optimist, 2006, The Physics Room, Christchurch. Image courtesy of Mark Gore
Receptive to notions of the everyday and informed by her observations of the contemporary condition, the work of sculptor Bekah Carran is often realised in poetic installations marked by the refined use of unremarkable materials. Responding, in part, to debates surrounding sustainability and environmental decline, Carran manufactures alternative realities, creating opportunities for reflection and hope. In her 2006 project Welcome Home My Beautiful Optimist she used the simple packing materials of cardboard and tape to construct two geodesic domes, interpreted as shelter, within the white cubes of the Physics Room, Christchurch and Artspace, Auckland. As the Physics Room proposed, Carran's installation asks us to leave the imminent threats that surround us at the door. She tests whether in a world increasingly fuelled by anxiety and fear it is possible to once again embrace aspects of a nostalgic idealism to create a better way of living. An earlier work, Welcome to Paradise (Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2004), carefully recreated a park bench beneath an apple tree, inviting notions of rest and reflection associated with the outdoors into the context of the gallery and to the conditioned experience of art.
Exhibitions include Telecom Prospect: New Art New Zealand, City Gallery Wellington, (2004); Welcome to Paradise, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2004); Welcome Home My Beautiful Optimist, The Physics Room, Christchurch and Artspace, Auckland (2006); Cosy Dell: a portable garden as part of the series Back Boot, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin.
Carran was born in Wanganui in 1976. She received a BFA from the Otago School of Fine Art in 1998; was the Olivia Spencer Bower Artist in Residence in Christchurch, 2003 and is the Physics Room Artist in Residence, 2007. She lives and works in Dunedin.