A Physicist's View of the City

7 August 2012

Courtenay Place is a path Molly Samsell takes at least once a day to get to and from work. Every day for the past year she has taken her camera with her.

Local Coordinates

Local Coordinates

The result of Samsell's daily walks has been turned into Courtenay Place's latest public light box exhibition, Local Coordinates (from 10 August).

Each image is a composite of Courtenay Place surfaces - buildings, doorways, curbs and walls - and also a record of change the street has experienced over time.

Samsell says she would notice a change in surfaces - little things like textures and the corner of buildings.

"There's been lots of turn-over of businesses in Courtenay so it changes the texture of the city. Because I've recorded so much, some of the images are from different periods within a building, so you might see one side from eight months ago and one side from two months ago."

As well as a Masters in Fine Arts from Massey University, Samsell has a degree in astrophysics from the University of New Mexico. She has always had a love of art and science.

"Astrophysics is more about trying to find your place in the world - I love equations, I love seeing how everything fits and so that transfers over to my art practice.

"I use photography and my own calculations in a bid to organise and understand the environment in a different language."

Samsell says her work is open for interpretation. She likes the fact the exhibition will be up for four months.

"I hope passersby will experience it differently each time.

"They might not notice it at first but, maybe two months down the road, they might walk by a place further down from an image and recognise its origin. I'm hoping it's a subtle intervention to everyone's space that causes them to stop for a moment and think."

Local Coordinates is curated by Andrea Bell and runs from Friday 10 August until 3 December.

Arts - Light Boxes - Courtenay Place Park