Lost in the air
Ana Iti, Ellyse Randrup, Gregory Kan and Sarah Maxey

Courtenay Place Park, Pōneke, early September to late November 2019

The Courtenay Place Park light boxes have been part of Pōneke Wellington’s public art landscape since 2008 and are designed to encourage people to reflect on this busy and diverse urban centre, even if just for a minute.

In his 2017 book The Language of Cities, author and director of London’s Design Museum Deyan Sudjic suggests that navigating a city is similar to exploring a library. The contents of library shelves only reveal themselves through random encounters, but categories and classifications give us the opportunity to explore it in a more purposeful way. This project brings together four makers working under different ‘classifications’, creating two purposeful encounters by way of collaboration — Wellington city’s unique connection between cityscape and creativity.

While Ana Iti works as a visual artist, she often brings text into her work in order to explore narrative. For one side of the light boxes, she tells the story of Waimapihi, a bubbling awa buried below the city — lost but not forgotten. Wellington emerging designer (currently based in Europe) Ellyse Randrup illuminates this story with a new typeface based on Iti’s text.

On the other side of the boxes, Gregory Kan has in a way, written in prose about Wellington city in a way that emotively captures this bustling, windy and populated urban environment. Designer Sarah Maxey recognises this by documenting fleeting cyanotype interventions just around the corner on Cuba Street, illustrating a possible aesthetic for Kan’s words to live within the light boxes.

With sixteen faces on the light boxes, the two collaborations offer passersby very different visual experiences from four creative practitioners in Wellington, as well as sixteen individual ways to view the artist’s work across the boxes. With each practitioner bringing their own unique and enduring relationship with the city to their collaborations, viewers will have the opportunity to see the city in a new way, through literature, art and graphic design — three staple classifications or practices that are integral to the way in which Wellingtonians navigate the creative fabric of the city.