Preston, Julieanna. becoming boulder [durational performance]. Puke Ariki Landing, New Plymouth, NZ, 2015.


As a durational performance work, becoming boulder uses gestures of blending in as a strategy to establish empathy between various live material bodies at the confluence of fresh and salt waters, the boulders and my own human body.  

Where the Huatoki Stream and the Tasman Sea meet, one finds a breach in the wall of andesite boulders lining the Coastal Walkway.  In engineering terms, the rocks resist the thrust of eroding tidal waves and manage the river mouth’s desire to wander. 

Quarried locally, the boulders are but morsels of Mount Taranaki’s belly migrating downhill towards the sea in obedience with gravity just like the granules of black sand flowing in the tears of spring waters.

While the boulders are of the place - of the land and of the water, seeming to rest peacefully at the confluence fresh and salt waters, I am an immigrant, a foreign body, an alien to this land, to its culture and to these particular waters.

And yet, the boulders and I share an affinity as discrete material bodies, round masses of live energy with the capacity to move. As bundles of ancient geological transformations, each boulder’s unique shape and surface is a consequence of its life as lava in a complex ecosystem.  At one level, my body is another highly articulated sensing vessel of minerals teaming with love and knowledge in an equally complex network of social and political influences.


Credit: Allan Giddy, photographs

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