DrTuTu/ Guilty of ART!// is a concept that incorporates & elaborates on a body of work from Weston Frizzell & led by Mike Weston with ARTIVIST : creative selected artists & creatives as a media installation & series of actions that together make a symposium surrounding an exhibition event.
"Of the many meanings Tutu can have, depending on pronunciation, revolution is one. And I noticed that the number 22 revolved 180 deg created a glyphic logo that evoked a double Manaia, a Maori influenced Hindu Arabic form that in an abstract sense embodied many of the ideas of bicultural collaboration we were working with." Mike Weston speaking on the images of the 'DrTuTu' exhibition "We conceived of an imaginary contemporary scenario where no colonisation had occurred, and devised a number of graphic motifs and symbols such as you might find on road markings or signs or perhaps corporate branding responding to this notion, and we started putting that symbol on works that spoke of those issues, beginning with the 88 canvasses in the Dr Tutu show and a number of other works since including 'Yeah Right', 'Behave', 'U22' (from the We Are series of letters), 'Four Seasons Winter'. I figured it would stick in peoples minds because they would be wondering why it was upside down."
"This content is exciting to work & the background & story to the artists & others involved is motivated by pure intentions" says JoFF Rae, ARTIVIST & producer. "Tame is being positively identified internationally as a 'revolutionary' in a context of world terrorism, conflict & recognised struggle of indigenous people... in New Zealand there is a context of protest, claim, entitlement & personal opinion. With a frame of DrTuTu / Guilty of ART!// the exhibition introduces a defined scene to contemplate the issue of guilt & perception with peripheral events & installation to enhance the process & create depth & perspective"
/who are the real terrorists?/ produced & recorded = Mike Weston @ the AREA/ vox = Tame Iti/ MP3 playback & download//
The /Guilty of ART!// project is based on the successful Weston Frizzell 'DrTuTu' exhibition & content with unique developed & reproduced content & production, innovative curation & augmented presentation with a brief that involves plans for a structured street art element, public media & an exhibition installation in a specific selection of cultivated formats:
- pop up short term installation with a short lead (two weeks)
DrTuTu / Guilty of ART!// POP UP - a quick 14 day lead with formatted street art, paste ups & performances; graffiti & music; guerrilla media projections & cinema; around a temporary (2 weeks) lease of a central store, space or building for the DrTuTu / Guilty of ART!// media & content installation; 28 day schedule from prep' to exit.
- touring exhibition, public galleries or civic installation
The DrTuTu/ Guilty of ART!// touring exhibition will involve the formatted media & images including prints, audio & visual installed to public arts facilities or private galleries & installations; formatted for configurable requirements of two rooms, sections or areas. Scalable.
Mike Weston [of Weston Frizzell]
How did you meet Tame Iti et al?
"In 2001 I was very active in the dance music and club scene, producing techno, managing DJs and parties. I was hired to produce a music project Tame was involved in but not leading. He’d been a regular around K rd on and off for years, and I’d had a presence on K Rd from 1987 so I’d seen him around regularly but not been introduced. He came to my studio one afternoon, with two very big guys, who it appeared were his minders, all with facial moko and in army fatigues, to record a haka section for the track.
They were a pretty intimidating sight. The other two guys said pretty much nothing at all for the entire time they were there, exchanging only a few words in Maori, and mostly just sleeping in the armchairs at the back of the room, and when Tame wasn’t busy recording or writing lyrics, he joined them for a snooze, so there was often quite a chorus of snoring coming from the back of the studio. On more than one occasion I needed to nudge them to get them to be quiet.
Tame came back in a few more times, again with company, and did some singing (he was very good) and had quite a bit of input, clearly enjoying the whole process and the way it was headed. The track arrangement got quite epic in a pumping tech-trance vibe, with a big vocal chorus and thumping haka. It took us a few sessions to get it all done, and after putting in a lot of hours and nearing completion it became apparent to me that the guy driving the project didn’t want to pay or couldn’t. I realised I might have to apply some encouragement to get paid, even though I’d done a very good job on it given the tiny budget and technical constraints.
So at the final session I was having some strong words with the exec producer who wasn’t happy, and Tame and co. were asleep in the studio armchairs snoring, but woke up, then the EP called me “just the pakeha button pusher”, which really pissed me off, but I was thinking to myself, “Fuck this could end badly”. I was pretty worried, but I dug my heels in and insisted that our deal was honoured, and I refused to hand over the master, standing there with my arms folded shaking my head going, nope, no way, and Tame and the two other guys had woken up now looking at me from the armchairs, half asleep wondering what happened. My heart was in my throat. I had no idea what was going to happen next but thought perhaps this was the part where my studio got emptied of it’s equipment!
So I looked at Tame and he looked at me and there was a long long pause, and then he nodded, and said “it’s all good Mike” offered some words of encouragement, thanked me for my time, and said he would talk sort it out (which he did), then he and his guys helped me rearrange the studio and did the dishes and we went down stairs to the café for a chat. It was a bit unexpected i guess, but we just hit it off, and I discovered he had a real interest in electronic dance music. I think it had made an impression on him that I’d stood my ground and not freaked out when things got a bit hot.
Some months passed and I was looking for some new off-the-wall projects to move onto . The dance music scene was getting tired, even though what I was doing was still successful, and busy, I had this idea to produce a kind of DJ mix anti=statement album, kind of a piss-take I saw Tame at the time as being a NZ parallel outlaw type character in the same way Ronnie Biggs was in his collaboration with the Sex Pistols that Malcolm McLaren put together. I’ve been very influenced by Malcolm McLaren. That year a new radio started on K’Rd , KFM, which is still going, and I was brought in at the start to DJ a few times a week and consult, and as it happened my show started directly after Tame’s who did the very early morning spot.
Tame DJed calling himself Dr. Tutu. His show was really eclectic. He’d play a John Rowles, Kiri te Kanawa, Patea Maori club, Hone Tuwhare, then nek minnit a Ministry of Sound trance epic, a lot of Maori material with theses club trance tracks popped in here and there, just all over the place, a totally off the wall mix of music, with his quirky speaking style and political spiel all on top. It was great! I just loved it. So he would finish his show and then I would start mine, which was an energetic mix of electronic dance, and I’d frequently get messages to the studio from him and his wife from home saying that they were doing the housework and loving the show.
I did some ambient remixes of the earlier mentioned project which made it onto the club LOVELY summer of love album I did with DJ OB1, and I continued to play with that material while out on tour.
Over time we became friends, and we started to talk about doing another music project that crossed over art and music, and ultimately this became the Dr Tutu featuring Tame Iti project.
I was approached by an American couple Jeff Root and Lisa Salmon, also involved at KFM, who wanted to record a spoken word project with Tame but had difficulty getting good technical help, so they helped fund the recording of some vocal sessions and lined up a bunch of other producers from the KFM community to contribute music backing, mostly in a downbeat kind of style and I made four pieces, and for an art / CD package.
I figured it wasn’t going to be a big seller, but had some potential to go the distance if it was leaned more in an art direction so i started jamming ideas for a special package CD which ultimately ended up being an art exhibition concept, with a CD attached to each artwork.
I had an idea of illustrating Tame’s face in the style of the 4 square man, in a nod to Dick Frizzells Grocer with Moko, so I called my good mate Otis Frizzell, who I’d been managing on and off for a few years, to do the illustration of that and he nailed it so well that I asked Otis to collaborate on the art side of it 50:50 with me. We found ourselves enthusiastically throwing paint around all over the place, jamming a lot of ideas, running them past Tame to make sure he was alright with it, and mostly he was and we made four series of canvasses each in editions of 22, presenting visual representations of each of the musical works on the CD.
I utilise a lot of chance techniques in my creative process, influenced by John Cage, and Eno and I used the I Ching regularly as a kind of metaphysical guide and mirror during this time, repeatedly finding myself at the 22nd hexagram passage, Pi (or Grace). The sentiment expressed in the Wilhelm translation “things should not unite abruptly or ruthlessly” seemed to fit the bicultural nature of the musical collaboration very well, and the coincident 22, resonated with the Dr Tutu name of the project. Of course there’s the additional Catch 22 reference. It stuck.
Of the many meanings Tutu can have, depending on pronunciation, revolution is one. And I noticed that the number 22 revolved 180 deg created a glyphic logo that evoked a double Manaia, a Maori influenced Hindu Arabic form that in an abstract sense embodied many of the ideas of bicultural collaboration we were working with. We conceived of an imaginary contemporary scenario where no colonisation had occurred, and devised a number of graphic motifs and symbols such as you might find on road markings or signs or perhaps corporate branding responding to this notion, and we started putting that symbol on works that spoke of those issues, beginning with the 88 canvasses in the Dr Tutu show and a number of other works since including Yeah Right, Behave, U22 (from the We are series of letters), Four Seasons Winter. I figured it would stick in peoples minds because they would be wondering why it was upside down.
At the outset of the project I was pragmatically aware that Tame was likely to keep coming up with new ways to have his own Tuhoe agenda remain in public discussion.
He’s definitively activist in that respect, and masterful at it, a real innovator, and he didn’t disappoint. The flag shooting incident of 2005 put him back in the headlines and caused an immediate surge in interest in the painting sales, and the weight of the political association opened a few doors for us in the dealer gallery world.
The print Pakeha ke (in Maori, ke suffixed adds an expletive tone to a noun) responded to the flag shooting incident and subsequent trial lead up.
The name Pake (torn or damaged) hake (flag) is a word play.
I started playing with Maori words at the Dr Tutu show. Thinking that it would encourage questions discussion and debate, and it also helped me learn more Maori language so I thought it would have the same effect for others.
After the flag shooting, we got some press, and the music was used in a very good documentary “The Man Behind the Moko” and started getting used here and there on TV. Tame seemed happy with it all, which really delighted me because I thought we’d really subverted a lot of the material we were working with to make it a bit more ambivalent and thought provoking rather than just radical and prescriptive, but he was pretty stoked with it I think, and that motivated me to put more effort into getting acquainted with the Tuhoe story.
Otis’ and my collaboration on the Dr Tutu project established the a new working relationship that evolved into the Weston Frizzell brand.
I began playing with visual remixes of appropriated imagery, tapping the symbolism in the work of pakeha artists who were viewed [or been accused of] appropriating Maori material, and also applying the opposite and looking at Maori artists who’s work that were aesthetically Western directed or focussed.
When the raids occurred and Tame and the others were arrested, I was really shocked, as were most people who knew Tame. If you listen to the track “Who are the real terrorists?” from the Dr Tutu project 2004, you’ll understand that the powers that were exercised by the crown were just a continuation of the systematic undermining of individual rights we have all been subjected to in response to US paranoia post 9/11. That’s what that track is all about. So when the shit hit the fan I was just absolutely stunned that it could go that far. Looking at what was happening internationally with Iraq and Blair and now Iran and Syria, it seemed pretty clear that the government were looking for a chance to flex their new draconian laws that had been created in response to US foreign policy bullying and Tame copped the full force of it. I think it was shameful how it rolled out. Just disgraceful and ignorant and foolish, and cowardly on the part of the legislators and police, and ultimately has been enormously destructive for relations.
I believe it began in an attempt by the NZ to government kowtow to corrupt US government pressure by making some stupid, immoral and ultimately useless laws and now it’s just continuing while they try to save face.
Its an embarrassment to them."
DrTuTu/ Guilty of ART!// is essentially providing a platform with specific artists & creatives to make & demonstrate a reference; Weston & ARTIVIST have developed a frame that questions the statement of intent in the Weston Frizzell Dr TuTu exhibition.
Weston Frizzell importune the genre of Pop Art & Culture in a classic fashion of youth rebellion, skateboarding & surf culture, urban art & graffiti, hip hop & punk against a background of protest, conflict, politics & social commentary, wit & humour.
The genre & content is suitable for guerilla marketing & street advertising & is both pertinent in subject & fashionable... the success of the event is based on the quality & celebrity of Weston Frizzell with prominent & consummate collaborators...
Jos Wheeler is such a collaborator in his ability to compile & provide personally created content, documentation & documentary. His moving & still images span an understanding of the DrTuTu subject that is moving & intimate.
The plan & content involved in Dr TuTu/ Guilty of ART!// build on a concept developed organically, purposefully & historically... with current & pertinent messages to convey:
- 'Who Are The Real Terrorists' was a track laid down in 2003 & other audio & media of Dr TuTu have been recorded, produced & developed over several years;
- Mike Weston has been an associate of Tame Iti since 2001 & Otis Frizzell has known Tame for several years;
- Dr TuTu is developed content with a context that has exhibited previously;
- relevent content & media exist in Weston Frizzell & other private & public archive;
- ARTIVIST has had an association with Tame & others in the Urewera group for 20 years in protest action & art;
- ARTIVIST : creative by any means necessary! with Melbourne based street artist HaHa started to attribute street art works with a theme of 'watch that space/ Guilty of ART!//'
- ARTIVIST has proposed a brief to various selected potential artistic & creative contributors with positive response;
- the works & issues have been in development for several years through the Urewera raids & before;
- Jos Wheller (DOP & photographer) has been visually documenting action & event around Tame for several years;
- street art by Ha Ha depicting Tame Iti has been installed as paste up & stencil graffiti in Auckland, Hamilton, Taupo, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, Lyon & other locations;
- the exhibition involves a street element that has an ethic developed in illegal action; the Weston Frizzell installation is the "legal" aspect that states the intent;
- 'Street Art' is now the largest genre of art in the world & suits a pop up lead to an exhibition;
- the 'Weston Frizzell' fan movement has a broad demographic & relates well to the intended audience of 'Dr TuTu/ Guilty of ART!//'.
COMING SOON/ AN EVENT/ AN EXHIBITION/ A POP UP ARTS FESTIVAL/ STREET ART/ GUERRILLA CINEMA/ LIVE MUSIC & PERFORMANCE/ watch that space/ Dr TuTu/ Guilty of ART!//