Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anti-travelling south

At the end of last week I blogged about the anti-travel film Paul Janman and I plan to make down Auckland's Great South Road, and asked for suggestions about possible scenes and interview subjects. Here's a promo for our project.
Send us your own clip (feel free to make it using your cellphone, or your laptop, or some other handy gadget) and we'll see if we can squeeze it into our opus...


Blogger Richard said...

Very good! One thing to emphasise also is that Maori at one stage were supplying Auckland with much of its food supply (before the invasion of the Waikato) and also that, after that invasion, Pakeha destroyed the many industries that Maori people had including ship making and also fishing etc.

I think this was even in Sinclair's old book of NZ history.

But the Pakeha took most of the best, richest and most fertile, land and this lead, inter alia, to the impoverishment and dislocation of Maori. Even Witi Ihimaera writes about this in Pounamu - and so odes Patrica Grace. I mean they at least try to deal with the results / processes of this.

And most of that NZ "wilderness" has been "destroyed"...or (better term perhaps) transformed. Now that doesn't mean that it is devastated, but, for example: erosion is a big problem and in the bush areas the bird life has been hugely even the "beautiful" places are or have been vastly changed.

And NZ is really mostly quite urban. And the question then is how do we live in this reality that is becoming the whole world. (And we share with most nations the same social and economic problems). The whole world is becoming basically a huge city with adjuncts.

And cities with all their faults are fascinating places.

The other question is "what is nature?"

The answer is everything. And to worship ice cream mountains and our so called "clean green" land over a bulldozer in South Auckland or wherever is naive. Machines are or can be seen to be beautiful. (New Zealand has produced some great engineers and scientists...e.g. Rutherford, Pickering and Richard Pearce or Hamilton of the jet boat and so on (paradoxically if we are talking technology it was technology that "made" the Lord of the Rings). Beatrice Hill Tinsley was an important astronomer cosmologist. (There are many others).

And NZ (like virtually all countries) has a complex history and culture. And there are many many nationalities now, a change I have noticed since I was boy in the 50s. (When NZ was pretty urbanized already and pretty much a "car country".)

7:07 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

And are cities less interesting or less beautiful than mountains and birds etc? Or can we have both?

In fact "nature" and technology and people and everything else is extant in Auckland (as well as other cities). And for me - I love Remuera as a place to live in or visit, as much as I used to like living in (south of) Otara.

But I can see why people prefer Remuera or (other affluent areas) which I would (live in) if I had sufficient means I have to say.

But there is still much that is beautiful / interesting in such places as South Auckland. In fact as I said there is an interesting mix of the urban and the so called rural...trees and cars and so on.

And cities are where most people are. If we don't like people, we don't like ourselves or life, and then we are in big trouble.

7:16 pm  
Blogger Sandra said...

Looks/sounds good Maps. When I lived in Auckland, I disliked how that horrible huge motorway south out of Auckland seemed to deliberately erase South Auckland - real, breathing, ordinary south Auckland rather than the media construction of a gang zone - from the gaze of any traveller.

8:55 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I'm not Maps but I've known him long enough so I'll butt in ...

But I wont as..........

I believe he is now a NEW FATHER !! ....hence a possible and even forgivable excuse for his silence!!!!

9:13 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Still six months to go, Richard! Good points about Maori supplying Auckland with food.

I think that the construction of the Southern Motorway had quite an effect on the consciousness of Aucklanders, and in some ways contributed to the isolation of South Auckland. Smithyman wrote a horrified poem about the new motorway back in the '60s, which became the title piece of Private Bestiary, the selection of his previously unpublished work I edited last year for Titus. I was meaning to post Smithyman's poem on this blog, because Auckland has just celebrated, in rather low-key fashion, the opening of yet another piece of motorway, out in the far west. People are complaining because an artist has painted the noise walls orange!

9:48 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

To be! To be! I got confused...hmm...reading Face Book and then sent a message to Brett on another matter and mentioned your dilemma of potential (which I ascribed (in error as I now see (but in fact I knew that it was an event to take place or something in process as such but somehow confused it with the outcome or issue)) to actual) who IS a father in the total sense of that word or term, in so far as we can define that term or word...(I thought it a good idea as men tend to be luke warm about these things, in public at least, and good to show hat some men take some interest in such affairs or events potential or other))

10:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks like a bourgeois orgy of opportunism.

Typical bourgeois intellectual pseudo-lefties. Toytown comrades. When are going to get out of your comfort and do some real damage?

10:21 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

But the motorway is both good and bad...without it traffic would simply stop and if one travels to Hamilton it is now wonderful compared to what it was...hours of tedious driving.

Also the motorway was not put there to enable people to by pass South Auckland!

In the present way cities are motorways will increase not decrease.

Even sans motorway though, torists from over seas would still go to Rotorua and other places such as Ruapehu or other. Now these are great places to visit, history aside (or indeed such places do have interesting histories)... The reverse of the coin is to go on every journey with a history book in your hand and miss the pleasures of the beach.

When I went to Fiji in 1973 I think it was I didn't really study the place I was interested in "politics" somewhat, but also there was the need to simply enjoy myself (but I found it simply too hot)...and recall, many will not want to know about the "real" a sense your anti travel film will be for more serious NZrs (if they are in serious mood).

Motorways in themselves can also be seen to be quite wonderful. Beautifully engineered structures like bridges. I love bridges also.

In NY I spent hours on the Brooklyn bridge. Now that bridge has a deep history also. But it is also great example of a suspension bridge. The history is its construction (the initiating engineer died and his son and the son's wife learnt (taught herself!) engineering, maths etc and SHE finished the bridge, and that was quite a heroic achievement by her. Of course there is the story of these workmen on that bridge who died) and also it was the "subject" of Hart Crane's poem of that name...Bob Orr urged me to have a good look at it as that poem was one he admired.

But the southern motorway doesn't stop anyone driving down the Great South Road.

(It could be argued that we don't have enough motorways as we know the problem at peak hour either we come up with some other transportation method (unlikely) or kiwis will continue there love of the motor car.

The truth is that petrol rules. NZrs and others in the "West" will not abandon their motor cars (or their motorways (Smithy was hypocritical as he needed motorways to get around he was never without a car))... and I don't see YOU walking down the Gt South Rd Maps - but I have done!!*

In my early 20s I used to hitch hike around NZ...

My anti traveling is rather more ambiguous. You can go down motorway, turn off, then walk if you choose!

*But I am purchasing a new car ones 60s habit takes over. But one of my daughters and my son haven never driven. Other non drivers include (a well known NZ literary person) and friend I have who lives in Otahuhu. The late book dealer, piano player, journalist and film expert, suicider, and Labour Party dilettante Brett Lewis; was always driven around like royalty...and there are others but it is hard going.

Maybe that is the ticket to simply wipe cars out and we would all get used to shanks a pony..? Phones and computers ... do we really need them? No one rings me so I have it off the hook mostly for the Spam calls...but it has its use...Letters, hand written? Records are lost old art dies...even we need those. What do we need?

I see old Denys Trussell is still in fine fettle. And he bashes out some good lines from time to time... I believe he is a Walker. I have indeed seen him walking determinedly around central Auckland. He is a very Eco Person. He is also a walking Land Mark. he walks and thinks and is perhaps thus stimulated to think more. But I think he and his Eco Theory rather simplify everything and yearns for some ancient time that never was (a danger of being mobile land mark?)... but again:

What is Nature?

10:50 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Anon - you don't actually expect me or such as I to ever DO anything do you? We hire the great "unwashed" to go beserk and have riots and so on and then enjoy it all on TV!!

It's a great show like Guy Fawkes but not so good if you are actually there (or if you are too close to the jumping jacks)...people get hurt and so on.

But, yes, as you say, it is great therapy...Nothing like burning down public buildings in an orgy of beserkedness and smashing things or bashing up cops etc if you are at a loose end.

But leave me to my toy town!

10:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck you Taylor.

All art sucks.

11:57 am  
Anonymous mr mundap said...

I hope you champion the Auckland bus service. It is being neglected by partisans of the car.

12:50 pm  
Blogger Sensa said...

Just hearing about the publication of dozens of faces of riot suspects in the Times today and I am wondering if your film addresses the matter of invasion of privacy. Who are you talking to? To the people you film, like the guy in the back seat of the car who gestures, then smiles, then isn't sure what the heck you are doing? Or for armchair blog-readers? Or are you making the film for posterity? Or to advacne your own status as (highly informed, at times eloquent, I agree) commentator? Or for your own satisfaction? Do you not run the risk of being a modern equivalent of the safari hunters, only you are hunting human misery? Anyone can be made to look as if he or she is in a cage, even you, perhaps. Your blog, could it not be a kind of cheap economic trap? Is your film not yet another attempt to own the Auckland area, to use it for your own career ends, or to mark it as your intellectual territory? Just questions. No provocation intended.

7:33 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I have to say this. I cant, literally, travel on a bus.

I used to as a boy but I am liable to panic attacks so I have to avoid bus travel, movies, concerts and much else. (Or I have to be careful when I go to such things.)

So I am biased but bus travel is still a good thing as well as trains but the motor car is ubiquitous. A friend has a hybrid using petrol and batteries but the batteries are very expensive to replace I believe.

But kiwis are really big on cars. They probably are more interested in their "motors" than the are say in getting to the bush or wherever people go who go out of Auckland. Or in "the environment"...public transport is pretty bad in NZ.

But it has improved since eth 70s to 80s for sure. The trains system takes one right to the heart of Auckland which is in fact where it used to go in the 30s (?) to the 50s. By the mid to late 50s it had "retreated" to down town Parnell and steam trains were about to be pushed out but I recall traveling on steam trains. That was wonderful!

Then we used to get a tram from the a train station to say Queen Street or K Road.

10:40 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck you Taylor.

All art sucks.


It may do, and I may be "f-d as you say, but is what Maps proposes to do Art as such, or the Art you object to? How does art conflict say with "revolution" or whatever? (If you are hinting that a lot of art is obscenely expensive and used for the rich as investment I can see your "point"...AND of all my poetry I have ever written, unlike official art as on things on a wall or in galleries (and we know that right now investors are putting thousands into art and jewellery etc), I have probably received about total of $50 in about 22 years...

But I doubt Maps is going to make big money...this is more a social project.

I am not involved but it seems he wants to see how things are in reality as far as he can...

10:50 pm  

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