Exhibition at Salute Cinema and the Circus feature the artwork
Comfort Zone (2021)
Single-channel color HD-video with sound, 10'00''. Voice by Awa Puna. Courtesy of the artist
Comfort Zone examines the distance and sets of limitations we enact between ourselves and what we define as nature. Central to the work is the kōtuku, or white heron, and their nesting site on the banks of the Waitangiroto stream in South Westland of New Zealand. While common in Asia and can be found worldwide in tropical and temperate regions, the subspecie, Egretta alba modesta, found in New Zealand is near the extreme limit of its range both geographically and climatically. Being so far from the tropical zone, how the bird first arrived in New Zealand remains unknown.
The limits of our human knowledge are magnified in this work through our inability to fully know another species, let alone our own. The spoken language employed in the work also reveals the double-edged function of language which is at once an entry point and a barrier. Animated 3D models of bridges and ladders — a familiar structural motif for connection — interweave with digital ink drawings of the bird, evoke our desire to reach out, to bond, and to portray. Comfort Zone puts forward a proposition for a non-verbal methodology: how else can we be empathetic, respectful, and caring without the spoken language?
Sorawit Songsataya is a multimedia artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, New Zealand. Their previous interdisciplinary work encompasses sculpture, ceramic, textile, moving-image, and 3D animation. Acknowledging Te Ao Māori and Thai belief systems, Sorawit explores themes rooted in geological, ecological, and culturally significant histories to redefine our understandings of subjectivity and ecology.
These weighty themes are often lightened by the inclusion of provocative or whimsical pop culture elements. As well as challenging narratives, Sorawit’s work often embraces visually stimulating elements such as moving images and sculpture within installation pieces or has incorporated digital and tactile media to promote audience engagement.
Sorawit has received national and international awards and won the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 3D (2020) and National Contemporary Art Award (2016). They have held artist residencies with Govett-Brewster Art Gallery ‘In Residence’ Programme; Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Wellington; McCahon House, Auckland; and the International Artists Studio Program, Stockholm.
Recent exhibitions include Heavy trees, arms and legs, Coastal Signs and The Suter Gallery (2021); The Turn of the Fifth Age, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space (2021); Come up for air, The Lightship (2020); Rumours (Mermaid), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2020); The Interior, SCAPE Public Art (2020) and Auckland Art Gallery (2019); Offspring of Rain, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space (2019); Jupiter, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery (2019); Soon Enough: Art in Action, Tensta Konsthall (2018).