The Wellington Media Collective was established in 1978 as a confederation of graphic designers, printers, photographers, and associates. Underpinned by a belief in the power of media arts to intervene in social space, their activities over two decades have involved the production of posters, magazines, catalogues, and leaflets for community and political groups, ranging from trade unions to arts and activist organisations. This retrospective exhibition examines the politics of style implicit in the Collective’s substantial body of graphic work, and through this lens, surveys a history of public culture in Wellington and New Zealand. The Collective’s graphic archives interweave a story of political activism with a cultural history of performance and art, both located against a changing economic environment, new networks of distribution and communication, and the technological shift from page to screen. Comprising original prints, posters, publications and ephemeral material, as well as oral histories provided by members of the Collective, the exhibition draws on an archival project undertaken in collaboration with the Alexander Turnbull Library and the Department of Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. A major book project documenting the Collective’s history will be launched at exhibition’s close. Coordinated and edited by Ian Wedde with Mark Derby and Jenny Rouse, and designed by Wellington Media Collective, the extensively illustrated monograph is co-published with Victoria University Press.
Gallery closed for summer break from 22 December 2012 to 21 January 2013