DIY alternative reality Hut: a participatory art-structure for customising post-normal living.


Wednesday 22 – Monday 27 April

Follow on Instagram for step-by-step guidelines on how to customise your lockdown zone into a smaller but more friendly Alternative Reality Hut. Share handy hints on ways in which you might reconfigure the things (objects, materials, furniture and other stuff) with whom you share your covid19 bubble. share photos of your hut-in progress on the Alternative Reality Hut community Facebook page

Saturday 24 April – Collect the things you would like to share your alternative reality with. make a plan for how these things could make a hut that you could fit inside.

Be Kind and inclusive (Consult and involve all who inhabit the space, animal, vegetable or mineral.)

Build small and intimate. (just big enough to accommodate those who share your bubble sitting close together.)

Sunday 26 April – DIY: ALTERNATIVE REALITY HUTMAKING DAY! build your alternative reality hut with the things that you have in your home.

Thought experiment: what happens if you think of it as collaborating with the entities with whom you cohabit and constructing an alternative reality hut together?

share pics of your alternative reality hut, along with a one-sentence speculation on your hopes for a new normal here in Aotearoa on

relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: spend some time in this dwelling within a dwelling. Let your mind wander. Take time to see your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.

8pm – 9.30pm Together Apart #1 meeting the neighbours: a zoom drop-in session to share your alternative reality hut

 Monday 27 April – relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: Let your mind wander a little further. Take time to see, sense, think and feel your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.

11am – 1pm Together Apart #2: alternative reality stories. Zoom in from the comfort of your hut and share an alternative reality story. It might be something you have dreamed of in your hut. It might be an alternative reality you would like to see as our new normal. Or you might choose to share the experience dwelling in your alternative reality hut or to reflect on the quiet kindness of things. (bring a picnic, a coffee, a glass of wine)

Avoiding Mastery

I have a show at Whitespace Contemporary Art early next year and have been mulling over what to call it. The show will involve some paintings, a few books of drawings and a number of yet to be finalised objects. There is always the straightforward option of Some New Paintings and Objects, and I also considered Horse, Pony, Donkey but I have decided on Avoiding Mastery. It has a decisive ring to it which clashes pleasingly with its directive to avoid getting too good at art making.


Horse, rearing
Horse, rearing

Ironically this interest in non-mastery has its genesis in my Master of Fine Arts study at the University of Auckland in the early 2000’s. At the time I couched it in terms of cheating and lying as strategies for art making, however now I am thinking more in terms of failure and resisting the status quo. Failure to do the right thing, failure to master the art of being normal (or more correctly normative), Failure to be polite and well behaved, failure of art to strive toward being more skilled and refined and conceptually erudite.

In general a failure to progress and a reluctance to endorse progression as (a) normal/natural and (b) desirable.

Resisting Societal Norms: Resisting Failure is Futile continued

Book 1 continued:

page 12

In art, the problem of both success and failure rests on judgement. A judgement of either success or failure is by definition based on an expected outcome, either achieved or missed. In either case the assumption behind the judgment is not challenged. However, if judgement is postponed, the possibility of a third option arises, a position that that wavers between the two: the shaky territory of the provisional. The provisional allows for a mitigated success; something that holds together, just, but contains its own failure within it. It holds the door open to uncertainly, to multiple attempts, to self-doubt. It acknowledges the very human   possibility that this is one of many tries at solving the problem on hand, and that this attempt is not necessarily the best but merely the most recent. 

Resisting Societal norms  pages 12 & 13
Resisting Societal norms
pages 12 & 13


Resisting Societal norms  pages 14 &15
Resisting Societal norms
pages 14 &15

page 17 & 18

Modernism and the entire project of modernisation of the developed world has tried to write itself as a success story, a series of improvements and developments in the direction of Betterment. However nowhere is the dubiousness of this claim more evident than in the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the Western individual and the so-called Natural World.  The black and white barometer of success-or-failure is useless here, as our mandate to subdue the world has evidently not been an unmitigated success, but nor can it be said to have failed completely. We occupy an ad-hoc middle ground cobbled together from our inherited roles of protector, exploiter, owner and consumer. A provisional space that can be neither tolerated, nor addressed, by the dominant cultural model and subsequently exists as an ongoing state of crisis. If art, as we claim, sits alongside life as a testing ground for ideas and things, there is some possibility that the things tested and trialled could educate life in the subtle mid-ground of the mitigated success and the partial failure.


Resisting Societal norms  pages 16
Resisting Societal norms
pages 16