Kate van der Drift
07 June to 26 June 2016
Eventual Efflorescence is a new series that depicts the banal realism of an everyday, suburban environment. These scenes are as recognisable and familiar as any one of the many new subdivisions continually springing up across the developed world. The images are difficult to locate within Aotearoa, or any specific region; not because van der Drift has erased specific cultural signifiers but because they were never there. The street signs point to a global anonymity: Barbados Key, Maldives Way, Seychelles Drive, Mauritius, Bermuda, Malibu, Monaco, Sorrento, Havana ... These names speak nothing of the low-lying and coastal settlement of Papamoa and the history of this vulnerable young town. Its newly formed palm-lined streets are gridded with storm water ditches that lay waiting.
The Papamoa hills once held a significant pā complex, which straddled the volcanic hill country and watched over fertile coastal dune plains and rich coastal fisheries.1 Today’s housing development sits on an ancient palimpsest of kāinga, kumara garden soils and swamp pā. The landscape of the past has experienced an erasure of understanding and collective memories have been wiped as clear as the landscape.2
Van der Drift’s photographic portraits of Papamoa are eerily unpeopled. Her lens alights upon details in the environment, an attempt to locate and trace this culture’s values and desires and unfold the psyche of the new inhabitants to this place.
2 Concepts described by Park and Monbiot
Geoff Park, "Swamps Which Might Doubtless Easily be Drained: Swamp Drainage and its Impact on the Indigenous." Environmental Histories of New Zealand. Ed. Eric Pawson, and Tom Brooking, University of Otago Press, New ed. 2013, 177.
George Monbiot, Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life University of Chicago Press, 2014 Page 69
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