Johanna Mechen: Stepping into Social Waters

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Stepping into Social Waters is a video work which visually explores ecological, historical and cultural issues around the Waiwhetu Stream in Lower Hutt. 

Mechen, who has an art practice based in photography, wades into the stream and begins collecting rubbish and artifacts. As she works, she also collects the stories from passersby—‘I remember the day it turned blue’, and ‘It burnt for a day once’.

She spends a day helping on the Cape pond weed dig carried out by the Friends of the Waiwhetu Stream, excavates further the ecological history, and is confronted by the extensive loss of the stream’s Mauri, it’s life force. Mechen visually mines the site of the stream and presents a work which is as much a personal journey into a place as it is a contemplation of the greater issues surrounding waterway health in New Zealand.


Johanna Mechen
A Video Essay on the Waiwhetu Stream 2014
21 minutes, HD Video loop