Vā Kōrero: Philipp Schorch & Paul Janman

Vā Moana was pleased to host Vā Kōrero with guest speakers Philipp Schorch and Paul Janman in October. Noa Records opened the space with an ʻava ceremony.

Philipp Schorch – Sāmoa at large: Travelling things, multiplying Sāmoan-ness

In the essay ‘Our sea of islands’, Epeli Hauʻofa influentially argued for ‘what may be called ‘world enlargement’ carried out by tens of thousands of ordinary Pacific islanders right across the ocean’. Hauʻofa further stressed that ‘there is a gulf of difference between viewing the Pacific as ‘islands in a far sea’ and as ‘a sea of islands’.’ ‘The second’, he concluded, ‘is a more holistic perspective in which things are seen in the totality of their relationships’. In this paper, Schorch focusses on ‘things’ in their material sense, tracing their travels, which have amounted to hundreds of thousands of journeys over centuries, on a global scale. Drawing on collaborative research across the ‘sea of islands’ and beyond, Schorch follows the ways in which Oceania at large becomes constituted through the mobile relationships between travelling material things (e.g. archival records, carvings, photographs), narratives (e.g. of memory, genealogy, imagination) and human practices of knowledge-making across multiple localities (including their virtual manifestations).

Philipp Schorch is Professor of Museum Anthropology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, where he leads an ERC-funded research project entitled ‘Indigeneities in the 21st Century’ (www.indigen.eu). He is also an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. Philipp’s research focuses on museums, material culture/history/theory, contemporary art and (post)colonial histories, the Pacific and Europe, collaborations with Indigenous artists/curators/scholars, and (post)socialisms. He is lead co-author of Refocusing Ethnographic Museums through Oceanic Lenses (University of Hawai’i Press and Otago University Press, 2020), and co-editor of Curating (Post-)Socialist Environments (transcript, 2021), Exploring Materiality and Connectivity in Anthropology and Beyond (UCL Press, 2020) and Curatopia: Museums and the Future of Curatorship (Manchester University Press, 2019).

Paul Janman – Walking in Time from Tā to Vā to Wā and Back Again 

Paul Janman’s presentation focusses on his creative journeys from Tonga to the Vā Moana videography project and his PhD research. In Paul’s practice-led PhD project – that spans the Schools of Communications and Art and Design – he is producing a series of films that are built on his thinking about time. From a reimagining of past, present and future exemplified by the whakatauki ka mua ka muri to the displacements of colonial temporalities, his work seeks to deploy these potentials and actualities, at a specific battleground of Aotearoa/New Zealand history near Ambush Road, Ramarama, South Auckland.

Paul Janman is a Welsh-English-Pākehā creative who began working in cinema with the film Tongan Ark (2012) celebrating the life of the philosopher Futa Helu at the school of 'Atenisi (Athens) in Nuku'alofa. He has more recently worked in community videography, hikoi and experimental installations while teaching at Unitec, AUT and Massey. He is also the videographer for the Vā Moana Marsden interview project in 2022 and is applying some of that mahi to his PhD research on a time-focussed microhistory of Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa (www.publicfilms.works).

The evening was held in ST PAUL St Gallery One during the exhibition Equinox_1:03PM NZST_23-9-22. The large orange mat, Conversation Mat (Chris Braddock and Guests), operates as an invitation to dialogue or an aspirational space for conversation.

Vā Kōrero operates as a quarterly platform to support the research and practice of cluster members and our extended network. Affiliates, candidates, and wider whānau are invited to share in ceremony, food, and presentations of research; to engage with and seek support/mentorship from knowledge holders, senior academics, and artists alike.

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