Kōrero: Media art

Whārangi 4. Exhibitions and infrastructure

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero


By the 2010s New Zealand had a substantial community of media artists, working in a broad range of formats. Their work was displayed in a variety of contexts, including festivals and galleries.

In the 1990s galleries showing media art included Testrip and Artspace in Auckland, Galerie Dressford Vogel in Dunedin and the Physics Room in Christchurch. Two notable exhibitions toured internationally:

  • Moving Images from Aotearoa/New Zealand (1992) was curated by Jonathan Dennis in association with the exhibition Headlands: Thinking through New Zealand Art. Presented as a screening programme, Headlands included feature films, documentaries and music videos as well as more experimental moving-image work made by artists.
  • VDU Video Down Under: Recent Video Art from New Zealand, curated by Lawrence McDonald, was a component of the exhibition Cultural Safety: New Zealand Art to Germany (1996). McDonald focused on the preceding decade, when video began to flourish in New Zealand, presenting works based on music, dance and sound.


Festivals included Auckland’s Interdigitate (1991–2007) and Rotate Your State (1989–93). In 1997 Soliton (a nightclub-based art event) was developed from Rotate Your State. It was one of a number of art-saturated dance events that included The Gathering and Splore (first held in 2004).

A mix of music and art was a feature of the 1970s Sonic Circus festivals in Wellington. Subsequent sound-focused festivals included Off the Deep End in Wellington (1983–84), Sound/Watch in Auckland (1989–1994) and the international touring festival, SoundCulture, which came to Auckland in 1999. Other events for sound-based experimentation included Bomb the Space (Wellington, 2001–5), Lines of Flight (Dunedin, from 2000) and Altmusic, an international sound-art festival founded by Artspace (2001).


Several organisations have supported and promoted media art. Many of those have been government funded, some through Creative New Zealand.

Moving images

Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision (in Wellington and Auckland) has maintained gallery spaces while the Moving Image Centre, which operated in Auckland from 1993 to 2011, supported both film-makers and artists.

Founded in 2012, CIRCUIT is an organisation dedicated to representing artists working with moving images.

Digital arts

The Aotearoa Digital Arts Network (from 2003) is a web-based organisation that also organises conferences, exhibitions and events. In 2008 it published the Aotearoa digital arts reader, one of the few publications devoted to media practice in New Zealand.

The University of Auckland’s student-run Window gallery began in 2002 and has an ongoing programme of internet projects. Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand (SCANZ) in Taranaki was started as a biennial residency, symposium and exhibition event. It focuses on art, technology, culture and ecology.

Solar and Polar Circuit events have been held as less formal gatherings in relation to the International Symposium for Electronic Arts (ISEA).


The Audio Foundation started in 2004 as a primarily online presence. It expanded into a venue and gallery space in Auckland in 2011. It took on management of Altmusic, and in 2012 published Erewhon calling, the first book to provide an overview of New Zealand sound culture.

Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Andrew Clifford, 'Media art - Exhibitions and infrastructure', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/media-art/page-4 (accessed 8 February 2023)

He kōrero nā Andrew Clifford, i tāngia i te 22 Oct 2014