Television reappears on city streets and poster hoardings

23 April 2015

Broadcast television imagery will make a fleeting appearance on city streets from Newtown to the central city in Free Association. The photographic poster project by artist Richard Shepherd invites the public to look again at the visions shaping our sense of the world.

Blurry take of a woman's hands in the air at night.

Over the past 18 months Shepherd has photographed television events and imagery – as they were broadcast on his TV set at home – to create a huge digital archive. One hundred of these images will be turned into posters and pasted throughout the city laneways and streets on poster hoardings.

“Television images are consumed in private but shape our sense of the outside world. By reproducing these images as artworks in public spaces I want to short-circuit our conventional modes of operating in the media and urban landscape,” says Shepherd.

Shepherd describes his project as a form of documentary and seeks to consider the way we memorialise and mediate historical events.

“The photographic image has had a crucial role to play in the personal and collective memories of cultures around the world. I am committed to contributing to this story.”

The week-long public art project will also make use of chance to create unpredictable juxtapositions of images. Shepherd has employed a company to install the posters without giving instructions on the specific placement and locations for the artworks.

"Part of what I'm trying to think about is how to organise a large ensemble of differences, of different images and fragments of images, without relying on a dominating central principal. Leaving the final arrangement to a certain amount of chance means the work takes on a shape not determined solely by my own limited point of view."

Shepherd hopes that the short time frame of Free Association will also create an experience of the work as a kind of ‘flash’ or double-take and that means the images will linger in peoples’ minds and memories after the posters have been torn down.

Richard Shepherd is an artist and photography tutor at Massey University. He previously worked as a tutor in Film and Media Studies at Victoria University.

Free Association will run from 27 April – 4 May. Look out for posters between Newtown and central Wellington. The project is supported by the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund.