Group’s ‘visual poem’ film celebrates local history

Lawrence community events and tourism co-ordinator Rachel Taylor (right) and St Patrick’s Church...
Lawrence community events and tourism co-ordinator Rachel Taylor (right) and St Patrick’s Church hall and school owner Suzanne Stephenson are helping host a heritage film night in the hall on Sunday night. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A Clutha community is drawing artistic and heritage strands together this weekend to celebrate its rich local history.

Lawrence and Dunedin artist Leben Young has joined forces with some of the gold rush town’s resident musicians and many heritage enthusiasts to compose a short film, which will be shown in Lawrence’s 150-year-old former St Patrick’s Catholic church hall and school on Sunday night.

Young describes Brought to Light as a "visual poem" which combines vintage photographs of the area with experimental creative processes.

"The results are an almost alchemical mix of analogue and digital technologies, combining elements in various combinations seeking spontaneous and unexpected phenomena as the elements of light, object, movement and technology interact," he said.

Images were reanimated and illuminated using techniques such as scanning and refilming, and shining lights through crystal vessels, lenses and flickering candles.

For the film’s soundtrack, Young captured audio recordings from 19th century agricultural machinery, such as traction engines, while under the care of the Tuapeka Vintage Club.

These were interwoven with field recordings of local nature and music from Lawrence artist Graeme Furness.

Young said he hoped people would enjoy the "non-linear, atmospheric, dream-like" experience of the film.

"I’m happy to be able to give something back to Lawrence in the way of a shared community experience bringing people together.

"I’ve gained a greater appreciation of local history through this project, and that may well feed into future projects here in the town."

St Patrick’s owner Suzanne Stephenson said the event would double as a fitting way to mark the category 1 heritage-listed hall’s 150th anniversary.

"It was designed by Robert Lawson and formally opened on St Patrick’s Day in 1872.

"It’s always been a building that fascinates visitors to Lawrence due to its striking design and prominent position on the hill as you drive through.

"It’s a bit special in that it’s the only structure Lawson designed for the Catholic Church - given his Presbyterian roots - and one of only two wooden structures he designed still standing.

"We’re delighted to be able to share it with the wider community for this special heritage art event, and hope to be able to continue to make it available for events once refurbishment is complete."

What: Brought to Light short film (25 minutes run time).

When: Sunday, August 7, screenings at 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

Where: St Patrick’s Church hall and school, Colonsay St, Lawrence.

How: Free entry/koha.

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