Martyn Reynolds

David & Sonoko, Imperial Palace Garden, Sunset, New Years Eve, 2008, video 30min, 2008-09

Unthought things becoming thoughts 2009

11 actors, projected statements, open door

Martyn Reynolds invited eleven actors to undertake a performance in their home suburb and then to re-enact this gesture in the setting of the gallery on a chosen day during the course of the exhibition. Each of the participants in this project met with the artist in a casting session to discuss the proposal. Together they selected the outside location, action, and time for their performance. The artist also requested that all of the actors write a report on their actions. This documentation, including security camera footage of each performance in the gallery, entered the Adam Art Gallery archives.

Martyn Reynolds’s art practice is based on questioning how we objectify our visual environment. Taking conventional forms and established visual codes Reynolds re-contextualises these to dislodge fixed meanings and open new indeterminate potentialities. An important aspect of his work is the bodily experience of space, its relationship to the production of knowledge, and understanding it as metaphor.

Recent projects include: Believing in Politics, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington, 2008 and This Serene Machine at the Film Archive, Auckland, 2007. Other projects in 2009 included solo exhibitions at High Street Project, Christchurch and Blue Oyster Art Gallery, Dunedin. He is a founding member of the Auckland artist run space A Centre for Art (ACFA).

Reynolds recently returned from a six month research trip to Kyoto, Japan where he studied the work of experimental musician Shoji Hano.


Angeline Laing – report from home suburb performance

Hi Martyn,

Here’s my report:

This was quite an interesting experience as well as a boring and difficult one. I found it quite hard to stay in the present, as well as focus on myself. Normally, should I find myself staying in the same spot for half an hour, my natural tendencies are to let my thoughts wander and/or watch other people. I’m also quite an impatient person & thought about quitting after only ten minutes. I found that it took constant “fidgeting” to keep my attention focused. I also found that I had to constantly keep changing the activity I was engaged in to stay engaged. What came as a surprise to me was that so many of the activities seem to come with pre-programmed memories or took my mind to another place. The urge, compulsion or tendency to think of the past or the future was so strong. The activities that were the most successful at keeping me in the moment was closing my eyes and visualising the traffic, stretching my muscles, repeating a noise or word until I ran out of breath, and practising taking two steps forward and one step back (which incidentally took an embarrassing amount of time to master). I found myself grateful that I had chosen to stand on the actual spot that we had found on Google Maps as I had originally planned to stand outside the shops on The Parade. If I had, there would have been a lot more people around & I’m sure I would have come across to many of them as having OCD or some other mental health disorder. It’s funny how adverse we are to drawing attention to ourselves in such a manner. And how little of our lives we actually spend in the “now” and occupying our bodies, instead of thinking of what has been / might be and living in our heads.



Dannielle Stapleton – report from home suburb performance

Hi Martyn

Danz here!

Weka park Raumati Beach report

My favourite thinking spot.

Running on to grass I can feel the mud squishing under my feet the difference from the smooth surface of the path starts me wondering about my steps,I chance it raising my shoulders I decide to run faster splashing in the mud jumping like a jack in a box it feels so good.

Getting nearer to swings the boys playing football gets louder making me tilt my head with eyebrows raised, seeing if I can recognize the voices, no I don’t know them I start to smile to myself , I won’t be hassled “I need to be alone!”

As I close my eyes one at a time I can see different sights closing my right eye I can’t see the boy to my right,if I look cross eyed I can see two. Feeling a bit embarrassed I touch my face smiling to my self I feel silly being embarrased no one can see me!

As I sit on the swing I realize its wet I quickly jump up wiping it with my sleeve.

As I swing I move my toes inside my shoes makes me shiver not realising till now how cold my toes are! I pull my coat further around myself as I try to warm up

The chains on the swings feel very rough, rubbing my finger and thumb together they are smooth, the smooth feels better than the rough the expression on my face changes smooth makes me smile——rough I pull my sleeves over my hands,

As I sit and swing feeling relaxed even the creaking of the chains makes me feel comfortable as I shuffle back on my seat. Crushing the crisp paper in my pocket makes me think of food I lick my lips, I can hear and feel my shoes scraping the bark my toe’s start to tingle making me stomp my toes on the floor trying to get rid of the feeling, I laugh and drop my head back as I swing higher and higher, I shout while kicking my legs I feel like a kid of 5. As I slow down I sit and think, automaticly I feel my chin.

I feel the the raindrops splashing on my face I open my mouth wider inviting them in,as they wet my tongue making a sense of thirst awaken I try to open my mouth wider .

Running back home my nostrils flair breathing deeper,my eyebrows raise as I smell the gorgeous smell of wood burning on the cold night, makes me think of bonfire night in England, again my expression changes.I can imagine fireworks breathing deeper as I look up, the bangs the heat of the bonfire makes me feel warm and very happy I start to sing. Dancing I move side to side from leg to leg spinning around as I dance pulling at my collar trying to cool me down, I need to remove my coat.

I reach home as I stubb my toe on a tree root, I grimace breathing in I clench my teeth such a difference from the joy I was feeling.

I hope this is ok Danz

Karen Munro – report from home suburb performance

Hi Martyn

Here is a report of my experience by the bridge.

Kind regards

It was a sunny day so I went to the spot and sat down on the stile facing the park. I set the alarm on my mobile for half an hour. It was a nice area with a lot to look at. The fennel shoots were growing at my feet and I thought about picking them to take home and put in my dinner. The traffic was noisier than I thought and almost drowned out the noise of the creek. I decided to cross the bridge and thought of a place to sit closer to the creek. I noticed a fantail duck around a tree by the river.

I went and sat on a large concrete block with a piece of reinforced steel poking out of it. I could listen to and watch the river from here better. The gurgling noise was better but I could still hear the traffic and cars whizzing by. Up stream was a beautiful sight of green river banks reflected on the water behind a row of trees, and a small bit of white water just beyond it. I noticed a pukeko eating grass stalks a little way up the bank. Downstream was still and a duck swam around looking for food. The sun reflected off it’s smooth surface. I glanced up towards the sun high above the hillside covered in gorse and bracken. For a moment I wondered what it would have been like before humanity had made it’s mark. Perhaps punga ferns would have populated the slopes, and perhaps a large majestic rimu or totara or something like that might have dominated the area rather than a few foreign oak trees and willows, although they are also very pretty.

Beneath my feet the river ran. I noticed the river was quite dirty at that point and full of silt having bought a lot of dirt down with the recent winter rains. The beauty of the river was marred by little pieces of plastic bag stuck to twigs and bushes on the bank. I wondered where the river began. Whether it began bubbling out of a spring somewhere between here and Akatarawa, or whether a few drips dribbled out of the ground here and there from the top of the hill and just ran down. Then I thought of the river as representing the life of a person. Springing into the world pristine and perfect, innocent of all negativity, and then finding your way, via the line of least resistance, to the sea, the source, the beginning and end of all rivers, and the great storehouse of water, of which all rivers are made, all the while, the further it moved downstream, the more it picked up all the rubbish chucked at it, piece by piece, as humans pick up rubbish as they go along, various bits and pieces of internal emotional garbage, a harsh word there, a bad relationship here, etc.

Then I realised my bottom was getting colder and colder against the concrete. I looked at my mobile phone and realised I still had at least another ten minutes at the spot. I got up as by then my bottom was too cold and went back to sit on the stile. I sat there for ten minutes listening to the sound of the traffic, noticed three kids on bicycles across the road up on the driveway, chasing each other as they played, and also a walking couple in tracksuits crossing the bridge. I also managed to wriggle my toes inside my shoes a couple of times which I think is what I was supposed to do. My alarm went and I knew that half an hour passed and that it was time to go into town and do my shopping. I walked down the path towards the town.

As I crossed the next bridge I looked up at the stream. The water looked cleaner and fresher. Another, or maybe it was the same one, pukeko made a squarking noise as I passed. He was standing on one leg looking in my direction. I wondered what he or she might be saying. Perhaps ‘I hope you didn’t chuck any more rubbish in my neighbourhood’, or maybe just ‘Good morning.’

Peter Gitau – report from home suburb performance

Hi Martyn,

I had my walk at Countdown Johnsonville yesterday.

I used the entrance on the MacDonald side and went through to the exit on Johnsonville Road. My walk was pretty much on the same path I follow each time I am at the shopping centre. I seemed to be interested on the same shops and same window displays. Some of these are a coffee shop, a jewelery shop, Count down store and the discounted clothes on display in the foyer area. Nothing was really planned but my feet seemed to follow a natural habitual path around the shops.

If you have any question, kindly let me know.



Ray Goldstein – report from home suburb performance

Ray’s Hataitai Report

It’s early Friday morning outside my ‘local’–the Salvation

coffee house cafe in Hataitai. I had just walked ‘Chas’ and

‘Gyp’ on Lyall Bay beach, so badly needed a wake up jolt.

Usual knee joint aches and pains alerted me once again to

the physical toll of the aging process, and thus I

stretched, took deep breaths in and out, rolled my head

around and–probably in a hereditary reflex–shrugged my

shoulders like my father used to do. This attracted a few

stares, so I began to look at some entertainment window

posters while pacing back and forth along the local stsore

fronts. The window panes mirrored my greying visage as I

pulled down the black rubgy cap over my cold ears, stroked

the beard stubble and rubbed sleepy remains from the corners

of my eyes. The sun occasionally peeked out from amongst

the grey clouds and when it did I removed my glasses and

closed my eyes, one at a time, to capture some new energy

and briefly pretend I was young again. It’s funy how

dancing colours and fleeting, fragmented images emerge when

you rub your eyes. This time I saw my very first dog

‘Frisky’, the toy cocker spaniel–now long dead–running to

greet me after school. As this image gradually faded with

my mouth still frozen in a smile, shrill high pitched barks

were transformed into or replaced by deep ones from Gyp, the

young huntaway/border collie dross who began licking my face

back to the present as I slowly climbed into my car.

‘Chas’, the old pug dog, never even looked up from his fetal

position in the passenger’s seat. Within a short time I had

been transported from senior age to childhood and back

again: just another glorious day to be alive in Hataitai!

Peter Gitau – report from Adam Art Gallery performance

Dear Martyn,

Thank you very much for inviting me to see your display at the Adam Art Gallery.

I visited the project on Saturday 18 July at about 11.00am.

There was a very gentle and kind lady at the reception who ushered me in and gave a brief explanation of the displays available.

The display of a true office set up was very well put together. I at first took it for a real office!

I do hope my visit will be of good use to your work and I can only imagine very creative work that will come from you in the near future.

Should you wish me to play a future role, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,


Katie Musgrove – report from home suburb performance

hi martyn

attached is reports – if they are not what was wanted get back to me and i will redo them


Visit to Westfield Mall, Lower Hutt

I decided to stand upstairs by the balcony rail.

I started by leaning my back against the rail, my arms folded and just watching people walk by and listening to the mixture of people’s voices and shop music.

I felt that everyone walking past me was looking at me so I looked down at my feet. I curled my toes up in my boots, first I curled them up together then one foot at a time. I repeated this about ten times.

I sighed loudly blowing the air out through my lips and letting the air make them vibrate as it went out.

I hooked my thumbs on the belt loops of my belt, and then undid my jacket zip.

I looked at the shop straight across from me and began trying to make as many words as possible from its name on the window. I realised I could see myself in the shop window reflection, so I checked how I looked – I adjusted my fringe so it almost covered one eye.

The balcony rail began to hurt my back, so I turned around and leaned on the rail with my forearms and looked at all the people below.

I put my hands together then touched each matching finger to each other, backwards and forwards for about three times.

I sighed loudly again, I was getting bored; I checked my mobile phone for the time. It had been twelve minutes but seemed like an hour.

I rested my elbows on the rail and put my chin in my hands. I was looking straight ahead but was not really watching anything, it was just a blur. I began to hum tunes in my head, then counted to twenty and back again. I shifted my weight from one leg to the other. I checked my mobile phone again, two more minutes had passed.

I then left.

Katie Musgrove – report from Adam Art Gallery performance


I walked in an immediately looked at the broken window and wondered how it had happened.

After talking to Ingrid and standing on the balcony and chatting to the people working below (as well as being stoked about my name being on the wall!) Ingrid showed me the pencil lead art work.

When I first walked in I thought it was a hologram. I approached slowly and had a good look; I kept my hands at my sides as I would have loved to touch it. I looked at it from all angles, bending over, tilting my head sideways, and peering closer.

I stood and looked at it a while, I noticed I was curling my toes up and down and my focus was becoming blurred.

I walked through the hallways of the gallery and came to a long room with a projection screen on a wall making a white box. I didn’t get it, so tried making shadows on it using my hands and body.

I carried on looking round the gallery, in one area there was a lot of red carpet – I couldn’t resist doing some gymnastics on it.

I really struggled to find the ‘art’ so seemed to walk aimlessly through areas sighing often and getting bored.

I went back into the pencil lead sculpture room – here I played on the air vents – like Marilyn Monroe with the subway vents. I tried each one – some blew more air than others. They were quite cooling aws the gallery was very warm.

At the exit there were two screens showing videos. I stood and watched the one which showed the window was broken on purpose. As I stood there I played with my zips on my shorts pockets, adjusted my hair and checked the time. I moved slightly from one foot to the other and sighed frequently, and cracked my knuckles. I wasn’t really interested in the video once I had seen the guys throw the brick through the window but stood there a bit longer anyway. The gallery was pretty quiet – I am quite a noisy person, I struggled with the silence.

After looking up a ladder that had nothing really at the top I left.

Dannielle Stapleton – report from Adam Art Gallery performance

Hi Martyn

Here is my report date 16th July

The Gallery inspired me,the art was wild but cool. I loved the pyramid it looks like a holagram as you walk in, my mind was boggled! It must have taken some time,I walked trying to understand.

The carpet WOW my favourite colour, it gave me different ideas with the sheet in the background, kept imagining I was on the red carpet leading to the Oscars, round and through the back of the sheet I couldn’t resist acting like a film star, I had to pose pictures were being taken of me imagination is fun, it was so cool. The picture of Wellington, well the sheet my mum could see Tutan carmen but not me!!I tilted my head trying to see what she saw but didn’t see it.

The hole in the window I would have loved to do that, I can’t remember the artists name who had the brick and video on the wall but I watched it and there were lots of bricks it’s good job he didn’t smash windows in China! I think all the different bricks are art in themselves.

Walking up he tight stair case well I didn’t feel it tight but I felt weird climbing to nowhere!

My high light of the day was seeing my name on the screen in the office

I really felt like film star Dannielle Stapleton is visiting today. Thanks for that!

I want to make a pyramid!!

Hope this okay

Thanks for making me feel like a star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fantastic

Danz (Dannielle Stapleton)

Ray Golstein – report from Adam Art Gallery performance

Hi Martyn,

Here’s my report from visit to the Gallery yesterday.

Ray Goldstein

My visit to the gallery was initially painful, not because

of the exhibits but because of tooth ache. The dentist was

fully booked so I arrived at the gallery fortified only with

panadol and antibiotics. The red entry carpet thus seemed

more of a large bloody tongue than a Royal welcome, but

nevertheless I seemed to gradually relax while doffing my

jacket, rolling my head about and otherwise stretching while

taking in the largely empty surroundings.

The cloth wall painting reminded me of a stained

handkerchief, and I almost automatically took out a tissue

from my pocket and blew my nose.

The video of the exhibition opening caught my attention,

mainly because I wondered if my wife and I were captured on

the tape. Apparently not, so I continued on to the long

corridor where a topographical mapping video reminded me of

my distant son who is a photogrammetrist. More stretching,

rolling of shoulders, etc. and on leaving I waved my

outstretched arms like airplane wings, pretending to be

preparing for take off, in my mind racing down the runway.

I went up the stairs to nowhere and was disappointed at the

lack of much to see, inside or out. Perhaps my poor vision,

or just lack of imagination?

Next was the pencil sculpture that was almost invisible in

the dark room, until I nearly walked into it. I reached out

to touch it but was somewhat wary of its fragility. I

wondered if it would be even more intriguing if it rotated

on a platform, but its stillness and silence had its own

integrity and the illusion of stability effectively

paralleled my own situation. At my advanced age the present

is uncertain, never mind the future! And stability is more

of a wish than a reality.

I looked around for a chair or a couch, but this largely

vacant academy space only had one I could find, in front of

a computer. Of course, I rested there a while and scrolled

through the coverage of the exhibit to date, including my

own earlier report on my visit to the Hataitai shops. This

was both physically refreshing and mentally disorienting.

My memory of the rest of my visit and precise sequences is

already cloudy, although not the slide projection on the

basement office wall: “Ray Goldstein visits today”. Vanity

may be one constant, irrespective of place, even

(especially?) in declining years.

Karen Munro – report from Adam Art Gallery performance

Hi Martyn

Yes I did make it to the gallery but didn’t write a report but will now.

It was such a different environment that things I found myself doing and thinking were completely different from that in Bothamley Park. I sat in one space for a long time looking around me as I did in the park. I found myself sitting in front of a large pot plant fern and my eyes tended to rest there or else on the silver tea pot the shape of which I liked. I found myself sitting their with my hands clasped, almost in a prayer position, facing the plant, as if it was a lone symbol of the bountiful nature that I had found in the park. Incidentally I work everyday in an office so much of the environment was very familiar. I sat in a number of spots (about three) and the feeling in each spot felt very different,e.g, in the first chair (near the end by the magazine table) I felt like a person who was waiting to be interviewed. It was a relaxing spot and made me feel positive about my prospects. I wondered up and down the spot for a bit and in the second chair which was facing the reception area in the central table made me feel as if I was in the interview room. It felt a bit harsher and more confrontational then the first chair. The chair facing it, gave a feeling of greater authority and I had fun coasting around on the wheels of the chair and twirling around in the chair. The last chair I sat in facing the entrance at the table closest to the entrance, I felt like the lowly secretary in a cluttered office. It wasn’t bad or good, but made me feel that I should be typing up some letters and making myself coffee and answering phones.

Hope everything went well.

Stella Adler:

Carlos Reygadas:…/carlosreygadasmycinema