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Big Wave Aotearoa

Big Wave Aotearoa


Year: 2013


Medium: Single-channel video installation, stereo sound, 4hr


Big Wave Aotearoa, Alex Monteith 2012-2013

Dowse Museum of Art, curated by Emma Bugden


The Big Wave Aotearoa exhibition is in two parts; Big Wave Aotearoa, a video installation, and the performance project Surface Action, a performance at Lyall Bay, Wellington.


Big Wave Aotearoa 11 metre x 5 metre Single Channel Video Installation with Stereo Audio


Surface Movements: 6hrs of free surf lessons with Alex Monteith, Miles Ratima and Doug Young, Lyall Bay, Wellington. Action, 60 surfer participants, 3 instructors, 20 foam surfboards, 20 black wetsuits and 20 blue rash vests, 3 red wetstuis and 3 red rash vests.


The surfers involved with Big Wave Aotearoa are Doug Young, Miles Ratima and Motu Mataa (plus others). The project looks for connections between art and big wave surfing which has  a practice of engaging highly dangerous ocean waves. During the exhibition Big Wave Aotearoa (Dowse Museum of Art May-July), a team brought together by the project persue the winter swells and recordings of these sessions are installed in the art gallery.


The persuit of the big waves and the locations into which large swells arive is of interest as an illusive territory for action (in that surfable waves of scale are rare and temporary sites for performance). Some of the big wave spots are well known, whilst others have verious stakeholders or aspects of localism layering the site thus presenting limits on how actions in these sites might eaither be accessed or be represented. The project absorbs the culture of the persuit of the wave, and through collaboration with the surfers who ride big waves, and co-develop a method of documenting the action for the future viewers in an art context.


Big Wave Aotearoa, a project publication with essays by Amelia Jones & Hanna Scott is available from DDMMYY.



Doug Young

Miles Ratima

Motu Mataa

plus others



28 November 2012

Cyclone Evan 2013

09 March 2013

02 April 2013

14 April 2013 (surf lesson performance Lyall Bay, Wellington)

28 April 2013


Surf Videographer

Fergus Milner


Stills Photographers / Image credits

Mike Stevenson, Alex Monteith, 09 March 2013

Alex Monteith 28 November 2012, 09 March 2013

Kerry Patterson 28 November 2012,  09 March 2013

Ann Shelton, Alex Monteith, Sarah Munro 14 April 2013 

Alex Monteith, Sarah Munro 28 April 2013



Funded by The University of Auckland, National institute of Creative Arts and Industries

Department of Conservation


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