Michael Haneke’s film Funny Games is another good example. Haneke used to live up the street from me and I saw him once, dressed in black, running through the street, clutching a folded umbrella, silver hair flowing.
Not long ago I was invited to give a lecture in Hito Steyerl’s class at the Art Academy in Berlin. I spoke about aggregation, how it’s the process that forms planets including our earth, and Julian Dashper’s stack of Artforums from Wystan Curnow’s house.1 A compression of material necessary when there’s too much world. This phrase struck Hito and she used it as the title of her book published in 2014.2
In the spring I made some videos for Josef Strau. It had been a particularly bleak winter in Manhattan and he had hard-drives full of ice pics and snow vids from his iPhone. We made rhythmical montages set to soundtracks from Native American early contact movies.3 As a European in NY, he said he felt like a colonial explorer. As a New Zealander, I told him, Germanic Europeans still see a Gauguin fantasy that’s not available anymore to the major colonial cultures. He thought that was pretty far out.
I learnt a while ago that, at any one time, as many as one in five New Zealanders are overseas – that’s one million of us trying to navigate work and life while holding familial and cultural bonds to this island nation. I’ve been living here in Houston, Texas for the last six months; it will be home for the foreseeable future and, almost inadvertently, I’ve joined the ranks of New Zealand artists who, after establishing themselves in their home country, have moved overseas, if only for a time.
Malmö is a good place to disappear. I came here in 2010 to attend the Art Academy. I remember watching the Academy’s director on YouTube describe how professors were not allowed to enter a student’s studio unless invited to do so. I would say that this is intimately tied to the ideological legacy Sweden is known for. I bring it up because it is something that still resonates with my life in Malmö, along with why I live here.
When I arrived in New York in late 2014 I was told it’d be ten years before I’d qualify as a New Yorker and two years before I’d feel comfortable and start to enjoy the city. That sounds far-fetched but as my two-year anniversary approaches I’m tending to agree. It is a very special city, a lot of fun, but it can be difficult to pace oneself for the long game.