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MaoriLaneWP  MAORI LANE, 2012, digital still

These art interventions consider how socio-legal performance might operate to question and critique social and legal norms that govern and give licence to a preferred social behaviour in the public realm. Interventions that recognise and acknowledge the hegemonic relationships of space/place over time and, notwithstanding their public compliance and production, reveal alternative socio-legal subjectivities involved in negotiating the competing interests and rights of an individual, present in the everyday.

This practice-led research presents performance, installation, and image as provocation and (floating) alibi to the actions and ideas across social, cultural and legal disciplines, contained within the artwork. A question significant to this research project has asked how the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), as Aotearoa New Zealand’s only and living treaty with Māori, may continue to operate as a cultural/political force that contributes to the ongoing development of the socio-cultural fabric of this country. These interventions explore the contribution that contemporary socio-legal artistic performances can make to reveal the tension, inherent in the 1840 agreement between British colonisers and Māori, as continuing to affect the very foundations of law in Aotearoa New Zealand today. Performances that trespass across socio-cultural, physical and virtual spaces, suggesting the possibilities of blended hegemonies and socio-cultural subjectivities not yet imagined or realised.

Layne Waerea

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