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Shelley Jacobson, Surface Expressions, 2016. Installation view. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland.  Photo by Sam Hartnett

This might refer to the tectonic plates on the edge of the Pacific Basin's ‘Ring of Fire', which some think, in New Zealand's part of the world, are becoming increasingly unstable, so that a global catastrophe is coming up. The recent increase in the number of earthquakes, and movements along fault-lines ('Surface Expressions') could suggest that a major eruption is on its way.

Te Tuhi billboards

Pakuranga

 

Shelley Jacobson
Surface Expressions

 

12 November 2016 - 19 March 23017

For the Reeves Rd trio of hoardings - opposite the Te Tuhi entrance - Shelley Jacobson provides two landscape photographs and a centrally positioned text. One image of the Wairakei blowhole, located in New Zealand’s most famous geothermal region, shows it in full spendour, erupting. The other shows it ‘resting’, the ground around the aperture encrusted with salts of sulphur.

The 1902 text states: This blow-hole is called by Sir James Hector the safety valve of New Zealand, an ascription which suggests that if it were to become clogged the country would, in its turn, become an exploded volcano, with all its people and industrial glory, distributed in space.

Because Hector was a geologist, this might refer to the tectonic plates on the edge of the Pacific Basin’s ‘Ring of Fire‘, which some think, in New Zealand’s part of the world, are becoming increasingly unstable, so that a global catastrophe is coming up. The recent increase in the number of earthquakes, and movements along fault-lines (Surface Expressions) could suggest that a major eruption is on its way.

According to Sir James‘ statement, the geysers alleviate that possibility, and perhaps the earthquakes do too - or do they in fact exacerbate it? Jacobson’s project locks into the alarm many New Zealanders feel about the apparent increase of earthquakes in this country, a fear that volcanic activity might be connected - leading to an event more cataclysmic than even very severe earthquakes; a possibility planetary in its consequences.

John Hurrell

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