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This Sunday 12-4pm at your arts and culture hangout - on air and on the web - we open with a chat with the Film Commission's Annabelle Sheehan about the tension between diversity and representation, and explore the way the gallery model is changing with two new gallery directors: Daniel Du Bern of Sumer in Tauranga and Kelly O'Shea of Dirt. After 1pm At The Movies, and then two panels: the diverse world of comics today with three of our best comic artists Sarah Laing, Toby Morris and Jem Yoshioka; and curator Zara Stanhope and artist Anne Noble on one of the biggest art events in Australasia the Asia Pacific Triennial - and the work Anne has done with scientists to install a home for bees inside the gallery for five months. After 2pm our guests on the Laugh Track are from the upcoming Work do at Auckland’s Basement, Brynley Stent and Jodie Rimmer, we find out why top UK Literary Agent Carolyn Dawnay is such a sucker for NZ authors like Eleanor Catton and Charlotte Grimshaw and we talk to Jenny Bornholdt about a wonderful anthology of NZ short poems. At the end of that hour Stroma's Michael Norris explains what's replacing rhythm and melody in new contemporary music.



12:30 Diversity in front of, or behind the camera? the Film Commission's Annabel Sheehan 

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Photo: Provided

CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission Annabelle Sheehan has been making her presence felt in the industry with a series of initiatives, often inspired by the idea of more diversity.

Last week she announced funding for three feature films, with one proviso - that at least two of the key creatives on them be women.  But, asks Simon Morris, do women film-makers need that much encouragement?

Recent films The Breaker Upperers, My Year with Helen, Vermilion, and most of all Waru seem to indicate women are making films. But what's more important - women behind the scenes as directors and producers, or more women stories up on screen? 


12:45  New gallery models: Sumer and Dirt

“We’re spongy, we’re shifting," Kelly O'Shea, creative director of Dirt tells Mark Amery.

What does the future of the art gallery and the work of the art dealer look like? New gallerists are trying out new models in New Zealand, and they're not all based in Auckland. The last ten years has seen a lot of growth in not-for-profit spaces run by artists themselves, but this year in particular we've noticed a rise in the number of galleries opening up run by a new generation of producers, popping up in all sorts of spaces, including online.

Here are two very different examples: in Tauranga commercial gallery Sumer opened last week, headed by Daniel Du bern. And in Dunedin, Wellington and online, O'Shea has been running Dirt, with projects popping up in all sorts of spaces.

"There is no specific formula for Dirt, it is instead, an amorphous substance defined by its presence and an ability for some kind of stripping away or purification," writes O'Shea of what Dirt the project is. It includes pop up exhibitions, online residencies - the current with an artist in Copenhagen - and publications. Just last week in a vacant space in Dunedin Dirt had a different show every day, whilst this coming Friday it pops up with another upstairs at Wellington's 30 Courtenay Place. In Wellington Dirt joins a raft of new artists run spaces like Playstation and Meanwhile and new dealers like Miller O'Brien and Hopkinson Mossman. 

Established in October 2018, Sumer is a new commercial art gallery in Tauranga. Director​ Daniel Du Bern was an independent art advisor (and is well known elsewhere for his practice as an artist) and is looking to develop the collecting culture for fine art in the Bay of Plenty. He follows the likes of Paul Nache Gallery in Gisborne and Parlour Projects in Hastings in doing things differently in the regions. His is a more collaborative model working with other dealers. His first show was with Fiona Pardington and his next is a group show of exciting artists represented by dealers in Auckland and Wellington.

Meanwhile Dirt is also selling work, but online. O'Shea sees this as an opportunity for more conceptual artists like herself to sell  "remnants from major projects you don’t often get funding for... Usually you go 'I know what mum and dad are getting for Christmas', or it goes under the bed”


1:10 At The Movies


1:33 Contemporary New Zealand comics - Sarah Laing, Toby Morris and Jem Yoshioka 

Peanuts back in the Sixties, Garfield in the Seventies, the Pulitzer-prize winning Doonesbury in the Eighties and Nineties. And in New Zealand, the legendary Footrot Flats, of course. Cartoon strips seem to have vanished from newspapers, but that doesn't mean they don't exist any more. So where have they gone and how much have they changed?  We have three great New Zealand comic artists who let us in on where some of the great work is and who is making it.

These days as well as zines and graphic novels there's a significant growth in their presentation online. In Auckland Toby Morris combines social and political commentary with cartooning and writing. He's the author of website The Spinoff's  non-fiction comic series The Side Eye, the publisher of three children's book and recently a graphic novel about the Treaty of Waitangi for the School Journal. Funding? The Side Eye is funded by NZ on Air. As comic strip it's part journalism, part personal reflection, and its animated.

In Wellington Sarah Laing is the author of both novels and graphic novels, the creator of an ongoing online comic and the co-author of an anthology of New Zealand women's comics. She recently launched a different kind of comic: a collaboration with Victoria University's Associate Professor Giacomo Lichtner  Rome 16 October 1943: marking the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Rome's Jews, an adaptation of Giacomo Debenedetti's 1944 short story. You can read it as a PDF here.  

Finally Jem Yoshioka is an award winning comic artist and illustrator who publishes a terrific ongoing web-comic Circuits and Veins on international comic platform Webtoon and has made comics for Twitter and websites like Pantograph Punch. She describes Circuits and Veins as being about what you do "when the cutie who moves in next door to you is an android. In a world of automation, artificial intelligence and reliable public transport, two awkward dorks try to work out how to date each other."

Webtoons started in South Korea 15 years ago and have had a huge upsurge in popularity being read on smartphones and computers. As much material is now published in webtoon format as published offline. One Korean webtoon publisher alone estimated they have over 10 million daily users. In Asia some webtoons are getting 5 million views per week.


1:50 Asia Pacific Triennial invaded by bees - Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope

One of the biggest contemporary visual arts events in Australasia, the Asia Pacific Triennial opening this weekend will see over 600,000 people through the Queensland Art Gallery and Museum of Modern Art between now and April. Its big on numbers: they will see the work over 200 artists new and established from more than 30 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. Heading the curatorial team is a former curator at the Auckland Art gallery Zara Stanhope who has included a great group of New Zealand artists with major projects in the exhibition.

Among them is Anne Noble who appeared in the first triennial back in 1993. A beekeeper as well as artist, for Conversatio: A Cabinet of Wonder Anne has installed a live colony of bees for five months in QAGOMA. She's worked with scientists in Queensland to create a tunnel they can fly through, and through which the audience can see. Scientists involved study how bees orientate themselves and navigate at the Queensland Brain Institute. They have a 'bee laboratory' and their work has led to the development of pilotless aircraft. Noble has had a test hive at the institute testing the various patterns Noble might print on the bee tunnel


2:06 The Laugh Track - Jodie Rimmer and Brynley Stent


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Looking forward to your Christmas work do? Jodie Rimmer and Brynley Stent are two of the stars of Work Do at the Basement Theatre, Auckland. They share some of their favourite comedy with Simon live in the studio.



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"Work Do is a tale of your classic office party gone rogue featuring a bumper crop of Basement-bred talent and a rotational guest cast of some of New Zealand’s most famous faces to surprise and delight theatre-goers each night. This one has been penned by Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden, it is the theatre’s only public fundraiser and coincides with Basement Theatre’s 10th year in operation aka its ‘decade of disruption’."


2:25 Literary agent to the stars - Caroline Dawney

Portrait of Caroline Dawnay by Sarah Richardson

Portrait of Caroline Dawnay by Sarah Richardson Photo: Provided

Behind every successful writer there's likely to be a good literary agent - though if you're not in the business you probably don't know that. And for strong set of our top writers - including Eleanor Catton, Catherine Chidgey, Charlotte Grimshaw and Bill Manhire - that person doesn't even live in New Zealand. Her name is Caroline Dawnay, of the United Agency in London. She was awarded Literary Agent of the Year in the UK in 2014, has headed the association of literary agents and has been in the business since the 1970s.

And it’s not all books: Eleanor Catton's Luminaries is being turned into TV (Dawnay picked up Catton on the strength of her first novel The Rehearsal, so has been with her well before the Man Booker Prize) and a Charlotte Grimshaw novel is being turned into a TV series. Recently Dawnay led the acquisition by Lightning Books of the UK and Commonwealth rights for The Beat of the Pendulum by Catherine Chidgey.


2:40 How short can a poem be? Jenny Bornholdt

Jenny Bornholdt in Central Otago 2018. Image by Grahame Sydney.

Jenny Bornholdt in Central Otago 2018. Image by Grahame Sydney. Photo: Provided

There is too much poetry in the world

and yet

here you are

James Brown

“Short poems - in a way they can be like bullets,” says Jenny Bornholdt. “You read one and you’re left reeling around a bit. It’s like being struck by something.”

The author of many collections of poems herself Jenny has also been rather good at editing anthologies. Now she has turned to collecting a book of poems that all have one thing in common - they're short. Short Poems of New Zealand has been published by Victoria University Press, and the poems range from the well-known Denis Glover  (“I dream not of Sussex downs…”) to fresher writers like Maria McMillan.

Jenny with partner Gregory OBrien - who illustrates this handsome wee book - are this year artists’ in residence at the Ernst Plischke designed home in Alexandra, Central Otago of late arts philanthropists Barbara and Russell Henderson. It has been a writers’ residency since 2007. It is here during this precious time the book was finished, Jenny tells us, and Gregory did the illustrations.

Jenny observes that even though we live in an age of shorter attention spans – with Twitter, status updates and text messages – writers aren’t necessarily writing shorter, in fact quite the opposite she reckons.

So how long is short? Jenny restricted her cull to poems of nine lines, feeling that ten lines is almost too easy for poets.

How short can you go? One word will do, says Jenny, though the shortest in her book ‘Anorexia’ is a slim five words. It’s the spaces around the words that are as important as the words themselves sometimes.



2:50   Adventurous music - Stroma with Michael Norris.

Why settle just for popular music? It’s a brave and bold musical landscape out there when it comes to contemporary classical music, employing all manner of objects and instruments to produce sounds. New Zealand’s leading ‘new music’ ensemble, Stroma are celebrating 18 years and artistic director Michael Norris joins us to discuss its range. Its ahead of an intimate evening at Wellington’s Pyramid Club presenting an eclectic and immersive range of sonic experiences. Included are works by Alvin Lucier (USA), James Tenney (USA), John Cage (USA), Chiyoko Szlavnics (CAN), Peter Ablinger (GER) and current Victoria University composer in residence Antonia Barnett-McIntosh. Antonia lends her voice to the evening and Michael Norris his glass tubes.


3:06 Drama at 3 - Roger Hall: Who wants to be 100? Anyone who is 99

In our Drama hour this week, we begin the two-part Roger Hall play Who Wants To Be 100? Anyone who's 99 adapted for radio by Dean Parker. Told with Roger Hall’s trademark wit and wisdom the play finds darkness and light in four men’s ‘golden years’.