Groundwork, a major new book by Sydney-based artist Bianca Hester, finds its footing in the volcanic terrain of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (Aotearoa New Zealand). An expanded sculptural project that grew out of a series of research residencies in 2015, Groundwork is both social and geological in scope. Focused on a series of sites across the city where human activity, geology and ecology have converged in fraught and revealing ways, the book maps connections between the landscapes of Te Kōpuke Mount St John and Te Tokaroa Meola Reef; Ihumātao and Takapuna; Waterview and Matukutūruru Wiri Mountain. Through collaborative and consultative processes with local people, this work encompasses walking, sculptural production, exhibition, archival research and writing between 2015 and 2020. Engaging with landscape as a nexus of geologic materialities, nonhuman durations, land expropriation, extractive activities and ecological transformations, the book proposes ways to apprehend the complex sedimentations of a city.
Writes Hester: In 2015, my feet made contact with ground materialised from millennia of lava flows, once liquefied, now solidified as the dominant geology of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Emerging from the body of an aircraft, I stepped onto the international airport’s thin asphalt tarmac, which was as generic as any I’d seen. The standard airport aesthetic obscured any signs of the absolute specificity of this place...
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Editorial and critical review process: Natalie Robertson (Ngāti Porou, Clann Dhònnchaidh), Dr Monique Redmond, Dr Astrid Lorange, Dr Saskia Beudel, Therese Keogh, Pita Turei (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi)
Copyediting and proofreading: Marie Shannon
Design: Paul Mylechrane and Kim Mumm Hansen, Public Office
208 pages, 28 x 20cm, section sewn cold glue bound, softcover with flaps, Perimeter Editions (Melbourne).