Documented by photographs, Andrew Drummond's 1980 performance piece, 'Filter action', took place on the Aramoana Peninsula flats, near Dunedin, the site of a proposed aluminium smelter. Rather than depicting Aramoana simplistically as a site of ecological or political significance, the work was an aesthetic response to the place as a filter bed. Wearing a white boiler suit, Drummond ritualistically buried a sheep kidney in the salt marshes, a reference to the body's filtering mechanism.
In 1997 Emma Bugden 'remade' Drummond's work at The Honeymoon Suite, a Dunedin gallery. Dressed in a white boiler suit, she plied the audience with warm milk before washing and drying a sheep kidney, sawing a hole in the floor of the gallery, and 'burying' the kidney under the floorboards. Bugden's reinterpretation of the work used the gallery space as a metaphor for the human body, and used ritual to act out (and undercut) a fantasy of containment and order.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu
Photograph by Nick Spill
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Courtesy of Andrew Drummond