Video Photobook, 2021, 1:01 min
My name is Kedron Parker and I have been photographing Inanga Love Park for five years.
The Inanga Love Park Picture Show is a personal diary.
This one-minute “Picture Show” starts as a meditation on inanga fish and their eggs, but quickly gives way to a stream-of-consciousness image bomb about Inanga Love Park’s ecology, urban infrastructure, art, and people.
The soundtrack is my guitar, taken from a Menthol Hill song called “Letter,” about unrequited love.
My work with Inanga Love Park started as a field study, documenting the regeneration of the lower Korokoro and its
inanga breeding areas, following years of neglect. As these interventions and the relationships grew, so did my photographic approaches, moving from documentation to portraits, abstracted images and re-enactments.
These photographs reflect tensions at the intersection of nature and infrastructure, nudging us towards a mutually-beneficial coexistence.
My first series was Fish Lovers and their Eggs. The X and O symbols of the crossed fish and moon/eggs have become a recurring motif, and shorthand for the idea of love, and of the breeding cycle.
A second series, Game of Love, is about the obstacles that the fish had to beat in order to achieve a breeding win.
A third series riffs on geography, markers, and maps – and their connection to nature and infrastructure.
As the restoration efforts continued, the posters became a backdrop. Some motifs are rephotographed over time, manifesting in different posters, with different people. This fluid photographic process adds new layers of meaning – as if the imagery has a life cycle of its own.
Increasingly I am photographing with film, in a variety of analogue formats. Working with bigger negatives has allowed me to enlarge my images into mural style paste ups, that have been layered onto the motorway walls over several years.
My installation for 2020/21, supported by the Hutt City Creative Communities scheme, included four large photographic poster panels, totalling 40 meters square. My goal was to show the stream in all its glory to the train passengers as they pull out of the Petone Station. Many are unaware of the presence of the stream, because it is out of sight, underneath the train in a half-pipe culvert. I want the passengers to know that Korokoro Stream is there, and to understand that this is a special place for inanga to breed – a nurturing place that celebrates love.
The posters are of course temporary interventions. Some fall down, some stay, some are touched up or layered over. Alongside the posters, graffiti artists add their own marks on the area, and graffiti control crews step in to cover their tracks. It’s a dynamic space, never the same twice, and my photographic process and this video photobook reflect that.
About Inanga Love Park
Inanga Love Park (ILP) is a pocket park under the Petone exit ramp that features an open stretch of the lower Korokoro Stream, near the foreshore of Wellington Harbour.
Wedged between a motorway and a train corridor, the stream is the site of a community-led effort to restore a traditional breeding area of the inanga / whitebait family of fish, which are threatened with extinction.
The project was initiated by a collaborative trio: artist/ecologist Paula Warren, artist Kedron Parker, and ecological engineer Stu Farrant, as part of the Hutt City Commonground Public Art Festival in 2017, curated by Letting Space.
The heart of the project is the restoration of the inanga breeding areas on the banks of the lower Korokoro Stream, which have been negatively impacted by roading construction and industrial development over many decades. Initial clearing up, weeding and native planting was led by Paula Warren and the ILP volunteer team, with the support of the Growing Places Charitable Trust.
In the time since, the Korokoro Environmental Group (KEG) has taken the lead with community working bees and maintenance of native plantings. KEG has also been involved with our two official “egg hunts”, auditing the stream for evidence of inanga eggs, with support of Whitebait Connection. (No eggs yet!)
Art interventions have been another important element that sits alongside the environmental restoration efforts. It attracts people to the area, and provides an interpretive lens for visitors, or those passing the area by train.
Upon the project’s opening in 2017, a massive poster paste up collage provided references to the Māori history of the area, its ecological qualities, and use of the stream for industrial development. In addition, Toothfish was commissioned to create a mural depicting the five fish in the inanga family, which remains a permanent part of the park.
Meanwhile, I have continued to photograph the area, creating an image series each year, and mounting my photos as paste-ups on the side of the Petone exit ramp.
I wish to acknowledge Te Āti Awa members Elizabeth Mellish and Morrie Love, photographed by myself and Victoria Saunders.
All the great images of the ILP Opening in 2017 are by Dionne Ward for the Hutt City Commonground Public Art Festival 2017, curated by Letting Space. The film still image of me is by Johanna Mechen, also for Commonground.
Audio: excerpt from “Letter,” written by me and recorded with Menthol Hill, Los Angeles, 1997.
Thank you to all the volunteers whose work, leadership, and inanga love have improved the area and the health of the lower Korokoro Stream.
Kedron Parker is a Wellington based artist whose work often considers place and the natural world.
Her practice is collaborative, conceptual, installation and performance-based, and includes fine art photography and videography.
Kedron has an active interest in the intersection of art and science and frequently engages with people in the technical fields, scientists, ecologists, and artists working in social practice.
Parker creates a photographic installation each year at Inanga Love Park, an arts and restoration project she co-created with ecologist Paula Warren and environmental engineer Stu Farrant.
In 2014 Parker created Kumutoto Stream, a permanent sound installation in the Woodward Street pedestrian tunnel imagining Kumutoto Stream and surrounding area 150 years ago before it was culverted.
Other works include The Wet Index with Bruce McNaught, The Water Sensitive Urban Design Study Group, Hello Pigeons with Adam Ben-Dror, the photographic series Nautilus into Night, and the installation Sanctuary at Aratoi Museum.