The Sale of Young Nicks Head

The amount of video and photography I shot for the documentary piece was excessive to say the least and it definitely created a big headache when it came to organizing all the files. I decided to split the folders into days with video folders and photography folders for each day of shooting.

The main problem with free-style shooting with out a story board or script is that my choice of shots for each subject tended in my opinion to be conservative.  As with previous shoots I have done, the best shots taken of a subject tended to be either the first one or the sequences shot towards the end.

I believe the documentary piece that I am creating is the first step in my development of a style of film-making that will continue to evolve.  The style of documentary I am talking about is a fusion of Avant Garde, art and traditional documentary film-making.  I wanted each moving image to be able to stand alone as its own separate entity, this was the crucial to the digital piece.

The biggest frustration I have had with this subject is coming up with a name for the genre and a name for the medium I have used. Is it  "Digital Art", it's no longer film or video since the device used is recording onto a hard drive, so what is it?  "Multimedia Art" is the term found on Wikipedia.  There is another form called "Net Art" which combines many aspects of my style, but focuses on the viewer/user experience on the net and interactive components.  I believe my style will incorporate aspects of both genres.

Another area for discussion is the various channels available today to view imagery.  I have made a conscience effort in creating this piece to think of how people will view this, what channel, on what devices and where people will view it.  Take Youtube as an example - the quality of imagery on this website has increased immensely.  The device that is used to watch moving images has an impact on the quality, with screen size, graphics card, computer processor and internet speed all playing a part in the viewing experience.  Most of my viewing and discussion with others for this creation has been via Youtube on my iPhone 3G.  This piece will eventually be available on the world wide web for all to see.  One of my concerns I have with this is that viewers in the future may watch this piece on a mobile device, as I have with my iPhone.  The problem with using this sort of portable device is that the text used in the imagery is not large enough on this device and the quality of the sound is such that it has less of an impact on the viewer.  In a world where only big budget films are shown on the big screen, it is my expectation that this piece will be hopefully viewed by most on a LCD or Plasma screen 42" or larger.

The five days of shooting were invigourating for me, although getting up before the sun everyday while on holiday was a struggle.  The climb up Young Nicks Head (Te Kuri a Paoa) was breath taking, literally.  The land from the base of the hill to the top where the pa sight is located was at a steep climb of at least 70 degrees.  I had to stop 4 - 5 times to recover.  My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my throat.  The sun was rising quickly and I knew once I got to the pa site I would only have 20 minutes before the sun rose.  As I climbed by hand along the electric fence line the last few meters to the top I caught my first glimpse of the "Pou" - a Maori carving that represents the pa site of the local tribe.  I grabbed the camera and began snapping shots of the hill top as I made my way up to the site.  I felt overcome with emotion standing on this sacred land with a combination of exhaustion and sheer awe at the natural beauty spread out before me.

The other shooting days were far less physically demanding, but just as rewarding.  One of my regrets about the beach shooting on day one and two was that because the locations were so immense I tended to shoot in wide angle.  I wished I had taken more close ups and steady pans of the waves, the sand and the sunrise.

The shooting days for section 2 were tricky in that the weather did not cooperate on either of the three days.  But
As the saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait," and even though my shooting ratio was low the shots I have used are magic.  As I have mentioned previously with

My editing technique for my many creations varies from work to work.  "Entitlement" is broken up into three sections.  Initially the final sequence (Te Pou - footage shoot on Young Nicks Head) was to be section 2, but towards the final stages of editing the piece I realized that the impact of the part was lost.  The editing of Te Pou went very smoothly and was completed over a week.  The song for the piece was created over a weekend and I incorporated traditional Maori sounds into the section.  I wanted the viewer to hear the natural sounds of Young Nicks Head fused together with the sound of a Waka plowing through the water, the sounds of wind in a sail.
I had so many great shots, both video and photography that it was hard to choose the best.  As with my mother's large scale painting of Young Nicks Head - "Te Kuri" - she used panorama on her camera and took three photographs in sequence of the headland, which she pasted together to produce one large photo.  I decided to combine a similar technique in three clips where I loosely incorporated this idea, melding different angles of "Te Kuri" together.  As was the case with my film "A World with in a Man" I wanted to explore further the idea of montage with double and triple exposures.  From my film school days I was taught that in many instances film commented on film. I wanted in this film to comment on the process I took to make this film, incorporating both moving images and photography of me in the process of creating the work.

The next section that I began to work on was part 1. This segment traced the brief history of New Zealand with significant milestones in our history, focusing on the land and the impact on the indigenous people.  It was my decision to not show Young Nicks Head until section 2.  Part 1 presented the chronological historical dates with text leading up till today and visually I wanted to focus on the sea.  The relationship we have between the land and the ocean in New Zealand, with the Endeavour, Captain Cook's seamen coming ashore in what is now Gisborne. Also as in section 3, I wanted to comment on the action of filmmaking with moving images of myself super-imposed over the image of the ocean waves rolling into shore in slow motion.

Section 2 was the most difficult to put together because I needed to include information about the sale of Young Nicks Head.  I didn't want to merely have a range of shots showing different angles of the head land, I wanted the shots to have a bigger impact.  For this I wanted shots that were polarizing and decided to fuse together images of the natural beauty of the headland with images of the world that John Griffin lives in. eg. Wall St, the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, and the stock exchange floor.  How would Americans feel if a foreigner owned Plymouth Rock or Mount Rushmore?

I am currently working on the sound track for the other two sections, which will also fuse the sounds of Poverty Bay with the sounds of Wall St, and our New Zealand government, threaded together through ambient music.

"Entitlement" comes at a poignant time in our country with the recent sale of the much publicized and debated Crafar farms to the Chinese. The launch of this piece along with my mothers art exhibition on August 3rd, 2012 at the Te Rauwhiti Museum in Gisborne coincides with the 10th anniversary of the sale of Te Kuri a Paoa (Young Nicks Head).  What do I want to achieve from this moving digital artwork?  I have many wishes.  I hope that we as a nation realize what we have lost and what we still can lose.  I also hope that the people of this nation decide that knowledge of our past is the key to helping us build a better nation and that New Zealand history should be a requirement for all children, university students and new citizens of this country, so that we can learn from our mistakes.