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I te whaitiri
mai te uira
ka aho te mārama i te pō

ka piki ki ngā rangi
mō te kete tuauri
mō te kete tuataea
mō te kete aronui

mai te māramatanga
hei tuku
hei whiwhi
hei tūhono
hei auaha

tihei mauri ora!

Mai Te Uira (as above) is a karakia I've composed for digital creatives. First and foremost the intent was to contribute something to Te Ao Māori that I think has meaning... something that had a spiritual function for those that occupy space within the digital realms... something that connected to our past in the present... something a little more than just an artwork.

Our art practices all have origin stories - Whakairo from Tangaroa through Ruatepupuke... Moko from Rarohenga through Mataora... I have long pondered the whakapapa of our digital spaces - if we had one what would it be? If atua governed those spaces then who would they be?

The karakia refers to a number of atua that I have attributed to the digital realm that we increasingly find ourselves in - in essence a whakapapa that we can connect with - and also connect the two spaces being real and virtual. Namely - the atua are; Te Uira; Tāne Mahuta; or Tawhaki and Hine Teiwaiwa.

Te Uira - atua of lightning - the natural phenomenon of electricity - is the atua matua of all electrical devices and so too all digital devices. 

Tāne Mahuta - the creator of space and acquirer of the baskets of knowledge. Also, to some the first user of technology. Tāne was the child who separated Ranginui and Papatūānuku in order to create space for all of their children.  IN some kōrero he also used poles to keep them apart. It was only through his innovative approach that enabled him to achieve what some of his brothers were unable to do. And through the use of technology- he was able to keep them apart. Tāne also climbed the heavens and acquired the three baskets of knowledge so that we as mortals may also create and innovate.

However - it must be noted that to some - Tāwhaki is not only the separator of their parents and acquirer of the baskets of knowledge... but also the atua of lightning. Thus to those people it will mean an acknowledgement to Tāwhaki as opposed to Te Uira and Tāne.

Hine Teiwaiwa - the atua of child birth and also te whare pora... the house of weaving. 
The woven arts play an important role in considering our connection to the digital realm. These areas include binary code, pixelation and the collaborative approach prevalent within digital culture.

The way in which threads are entwined (tukutuku/tāniko) to create patterns shares the same base as binary code with a yes/no or I/O - that is, it either passes through, or it doesn't in order to create the stitch. Put together in a sequence the stitches codify a narrative - much as binary code codifies commands. 

These stitches also create a grid system to present the codified narrative - the same grid system employed by pixelated screens - our window/access into the digital world. The various colours of the strands of muka/harakeke etc. together provide further depth and intricacy to the imagery, much like the RGB colour system of our screen also.

Especially in regard to tukutuku, there is further connection to digital culture in the way that it is a collaborative effort through community. By and large the early web saw the rise of counter culture - communities turning their back on the "system" and instead helping each other to redefine their own reality. These underlying principles of "open source" still guide the web and by extension, the digital culture of today. I refer here to the Māori world view in that it is not singular - rather a view of interconnectedness community that guides how we live in, view and connect with the world.

have you seen these works by this artist...

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