Amber Liberté

Leighton Rangi

Artist, Director, Producer, Writer, Researcher, Production Designer, Music Composer and Performer.
Natalie Tozer

Director of Photography,
Post-Production Supervisor, Editor, Compositor, Music Producer (Arrangement).
Sam Tozer

3D Generalist
Benjamin Round

Brooke Georgia

Hair and Make-Up
Lochie Stonehouse

Ollie Logan

Installation Notes:

A 15min 10sec looped moving image, 10bit, 23.98fps.

The resolution of this work is 7680 x 2160 pixels – with an aspect ratio of 3.6:1.  This is wider than cinemascope and designed for two large thin bezel UHD flatscreens side by side.

Technical Notes:

This work was made with green screen live-action shot on a 6K Red Camera at 48fps, to generate footage which was then composited in a 3D world with local land features based on NASA geodata e.g Tongariro. It also includes Lidar scanned geometry of performers, public art and architecture.

Special Thanks & Acknowledgements:

Thank you to LOT23 Studio and Xytech Lighting for your support in kind.

To Liz Ngan, Guy Ngan, Brett Graham, Fred Graham, Marté Szirmay, Ana Iti, Paul Hartigan, Richard Shortland Cooper and Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes for permission to reference or include images of work in the ruins scene.

Ruins Scene:
(artworks in order of appearance)

Paul Hartigan
Colony, Neon, Engineering Atrium, University of Auckland, 2004.

Guy Ngan
Bronze Sculpture, Newton Post Office, 1973. 

Marté Szirmay
Smirnoff Centenary Sculpture, 
Aluminium, Newmarket, 1969.

Fred Graham
Te Waka Toi o Tāmaki, Jurassic Stone, Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery, 2011.

Ana Iti
Heavy to Hold, Basalt Rocks, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 2016.

Richard Shortland Cooper & Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes
Ako Ako, 
Andesite Boulder, Māngere East Library, 2002.

Nāku iti noa, nā
Natalie Tozer

     [ full length ] 

Merchant bankers Deucalion and Pyrrha are flung into hostile and unfamiliar ground after an earthquake renders their office into rubble. Lost in a world they don’t understand, they wander the harsh terrain, unwittingly seeking refuge in the sunken troves of geology. This is an underground that has no time, no past, and no exit. Trapped until they receive the necessary Chthonic knowledge, they’re finally released into the open air, emerging to find immemorial time has passed, a geological age has passed… everything has passed. Taking what they learned from their captivity underground Deucalion and Pyrrha ascend to the highest mountain top to complete their survival task – to ‘throw the bones of the mother’ (stones of mother earth).

Deucalion & Pyrrha is a sci-fi parable that seeks knowledge from the underground. The stratigraphy of this film layers narrative symbology and cinematic methodology, each informing the other in subtle but critical layers.

At the core, Deucalion & Pyrrha is a local contemporary story with characters inspired by both Greek figures Deucalion and Pyrrha (Prometheus and Hesione’s son, and Epimetheus and Pandora’s daughter) and the Māori mythology surrounding the figures of the children of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The setting references post-earthquake Ōtautahi in Te Waipounamu and the Tongariro Crossing in Te Ika-a-Māui. Cross-referencing cultures near and far and bringing together the art forms of dance, animation, film-making and sculpture, this work strives to acknowledge the silent primordial ancestor in all of this – geology.

Myriad cultures across time have made sense of the ground and underground through creator mythology, fairy tales and science fiction. The most recent narrative of the ground being expressed as the Anthropocene (or Chthulucene, or Capitalocene). Deucalion & Pyrrha uses these modes of knowledge-sharing to tell a narrative about renewal, cycles, and a continually mobile geology. It's about a moment in the turbulence of deep time.

The urgency and intimacy of the material ground and how it can be accessed to gain a pivotal experience is important. The environment erodes and reforms between Anthropocene geology and Holocene geology, which directly leads character development, describing an instruction that lies in the material. Today, access to the ground is highly restricted and privatised by economic structures, but in the alternative archaeology of this world, the ground is raw, open and accessible while retaining full reign over its inhabitants.

The transformative pivotal experience of going underground presents itself in distinct ways across many popular science fiction feature films, but when the protagonist emerges from their journey under the earth, the result is always the same – they know something new, and an alternative future is possible. Prometheus, Dune, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Counterpart, Stargate, The Core, Stranger Things, Annihilation, Blade Runner 2049, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Matrix, The Abyss – many to mention, and they all contain digging, tunnelling, or exhumations that alter the future. As a fundamental goal, Deucalion & Pyrrha seeks to establish character transitions via the underground as a tradition in its own right. The earliest works of science fiction inform these films such as the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh and Ovid’s Metamorphoses which feature descent to an underworld, a Chthonic Descent.

Finally, time is critical in the stratigraphy of this work. The work magnifies the human experience of living on a biological scale within the deep time of geology. The expression of time is layered in both the structure and the narrative, each informing the other. The structural playback loop is built into the narrative, so time becomes cyclical opposed to linear. The work also nods to the ‘one-take’ cinema tradition – a long continuous shot by a single camera from start to finish (or, in this case, manufactured to give the impression it was). Historically the one-take film is a self-issued challenge of the director and pushes the limits of the entire film set, demanding elaborate camera and actor choreography. For this work, the one-take device removes the sense of passing time that we inherently know exists between cuts, another subtle but critical layer in the stratigraphy of Deucalion & Pyrrha.

     [ view text ]