The day before the opening of her exhibition Hybrid Spring with Deborah Rundle, Layne Waerea will argue freely with any willing member of the public in various places around Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
Free Arguments extends Waerea’s interest in actively provoking and engaging in social dissensus in public places. Holding a hand-drawn cardboard sign with the provocation ‘FREE ARGUMENTS’, Waerea’s objective is to argue with strangers in urban and suburban environments. In this regard, Free Arguments is an open-ended and public process that gives agency to the tension inherent in disagreement and suggestions for change. Members of the public are invited to engage in an undirected free exchange with the artist that promises contention and contradiction, but no predetermined outcomes.
Layne Waerea (Te Arawa, Ngāti Kahungunu) is an artist and educator living in Papakura. Waerea considers how socio-legal performance – as a series of art interventions, actions, and temporary installations in public spaces – might operate to question and critique social and legal rules governing preferred behaviours in the public realm. The artworks draw on te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840), as Aotearoa New Zealand’s living treaty with Māori, and how the Treaty’s ongoing performance can foster cultural/political conversation and counter-spaces that question the ambiguous and legally unresolved nature of ownership of natural resources in Aotearoa New Zealand. Waerea completed her PhD in Art and Design at AUT University, where her research included projects such as different ways to harvest rainwater, a free instructional video on how to catch air, and the chasing fog club (Est. 2014). Waerea is the founder and current president of the club.
Image: Layne Waerea, Free arguments: [Under construction], 2018. Image courtesy of Hans Tommy.