PACIFIC BLACK BOX
Pacific Black Box (PBB) works with groups and individuals to digitally collect, map and present information using video, audio, text and graphics. The information collected becomes a resource for purposes identified by the community. We call these resources ‘community based digital resources’ or CBDRs.
In March 2003 I was introduced to Tamana Sarenga, the last surviving master potter of an ancient pottery industry based in Malasang Village on Buka Island. By the time I came along, Tamana was loosing her sight and strength so she created on a smaller scale, than former traditional vessels made for trading. This did not deter her hands from making perfect new forms and over the months that I spent with her, she shared with me her wisdom and the oral histories of her ancestors, totems, clan designs, techniques and firing processes.
We dug two different types of clay from deposits located on sacred mountains and in swampy lands. She imparted traditional knowledge and revealed that her creations were not only for everyday domestic use but some vessels were made for sacred and ceremonial rituals. The coming of the missionaries and colonial officials discouraged ceremonial voyages and Chinese traders introduced shiny aluminium pots and pans. Tamana told me her survival stories during the Japanese occupation of Bougainville Islands during WWII.
After the final firing, we were acknowledged by Malasang chiefs cooking the sacred 'Menaka' in our pots. The ceremonial pudding delighted the community upon eating freshly cooked meals from our earthenware. I had come full circle in my knowledge and appreciation of the Malasang pottery tradition. To my knowledge this has been the second most in-depth study of the creative process since anthropologist Beatrice Blackwood in 1929. Margaret Tuckson undertook research trips to Papua New Guinea in the 1970s , eventually publishing a book "The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea" with co-author Patricia May. I was fortunate to have met Margaret Tuckson and talk at length about her donations to the Papua New Guinea collection in the Australian Museum, Sydney.
MAPPING THE MONA
The Mon or Mona is no longer built or utilised as it once wasby our ancestors. Rather, the Mona and associated meanings, has lived through symbolised ways (such as logos, emblems) to mark the Bougainville identity within the North Solomon and PNG regions. Furthermore, the traditional designs that once adorned the large single- hulls, canoe prows, and paddles; were important for linking distant tribes not only for water transport, but for connecting the socio-economic ties between clansmen and women from Buka, Nissan Island and North Bougainville.
2012 - conducted in-country GPS mapping, key informant interviews, digital repatriation of collections and archives
2015 - editing mapped data for digital repatriation
A joint contemporary arts initiative between Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival (CPAF) and Jogjakarta artists. FCACheartsJogja is an international program that includes exhibitions, an installation, performance, a publication and workshops.
FCAC and CPAF representative artists – Jacob Tolo, Salote Tawale, Heather Horrocks, Alia Gabres, Taloi Havini and Bo Svoronos –collaborated with Jogjakarta artists and cultural organisations including Kunci Cultural Studies Centre, Indonesian Contemporary Art Network (iCAN), Ace House Collective, SURVIVE Garage, Cemeti Arts House and Krack Studio.
8 June– 2 July 2014
5 March 2015 ( the second edition), FCAC Gabriel Gallery)
Watch the EXQUISITE CORPSTALLATION DOCUMENTARY
© Taloi Havini 2015