Across the Face of the Moon Part 2 (work in progress)

Rangituhia Hollis


A ruru sounds loud when all is quiet. And everything that scurries around and makes little noises must be it’s prey. A ruru sings when there is another ruru to sing with.


My shoulders started giving me pain again. It’s manageable. Panadol and Ibuprofen. I said once, that I don’t sleep well, that broken sleep has me feel an affinity for Nuiean warriors. I heard from a warrior, a Rangatira of theirs, of their history. A keeper of their language said, that they used to sleep on hardwood. So that they didn’t sleep well. So they would be ready to wake – In case of attack.

I send my thoughts out like sonar. And the thought of attacks from others, come near in. And then words from the future, and thoughts from the past near in. Danger is an echo, it is a violence. When it’s loud, it’s loud. When it is quiet I can dream.


‘The Gay Science’ and ‘Thus spake Zarathustra’ were parodies. They were written as threads of thought that should have stayed threads. They shouldn’t stay in the mind for long. And the Ubermensch was/were/are a parody misued.To think of Nazi’s, their evil is in attempting to broker an impossible ascension in order to destroy all else that there was. For they are based in an impossible contradiction that those who don’t or haven’t ascended would know of the ascension of others.

It is as Plato’s prisoner, who once freed tries to speak back to the world of their past. It is a fallacy that that connection toward the up, up of ascension could be an entitlement, or a commodity, or a privilege of a race. Or a privilege of money. Or force.

When that prisoner returns, and is beaten down, and no longer knows if what they learnt was of a freedom. Then freedom becomes a contradiction that leads to a new prison despite freedom. It is evil, to be a part of those who would determine a pathway to ascension as a right and a commodity. It can only be incidental.

The part that has stuck for me, is the relationship of Nietzche’s Demon met on the road. If the world is a loop of the same life forever, then why would you care about doing anything other than good?


He sent his son. When they sat and smoked one last pipe together. They both knew they would never see each other again. His father was an exhibition. His father was a history too great to keep hidden. His father was both hated and revered by the same power.

“There is a war son, and we have already won. It’s just that, that victory hasn’t happened yet. And it won’t happen in our time. I see anger in you, but I know your future is to be quiet. I know that anger, I have felt it from the inside of a cage. Your cage is to make yourself quiet while being free. Generations on from us, there will be a voice so loud as to speak to all of us who are gone and yet to be born. But for you there is a quiet. For your children and their children their is a quiet. I wish I had won that war now, but instead I won it for us later”.

“Years later someone will say to our line – “We keep our god’s hidden”. And then the world will become safe. As with a thought, our line will kill their gods. And send all others to the outside, so that they can see the world for what it is.”


These I recall not as images, rather as texts found – Recall family photos, the camera taken from storage: Ours’ had an interchangeable rotating flash, a cube with four working sides, one shot each side.  Each flash was from a set of 6 wrapped in plastic – 24 shots in all. Loaded with a 24 shot film. The camera would be brought from the wardrobe, behind two sliding doors that had long been broken. You’d have to choose the not so badly broken door and lift it at its base and slide it across, the heavy metal frame would screech and knock into the other door, which hung flapping and often would be knocked off its tracks and derailed. Above all manner of my dad’s work clothes and a throng of metal coat hangers, the camera sat on a shelf, on some boxes. It was not a regular occurrence of course we were not a family so interested in photography or art even, in fact we’d take our pictures only it seemed when there were visiting family or long missed friends present. So the introduction to the process photography that we have is one of staged performative fakeness for the transition of images as artefacts into some family archive. Images that carry love with them, as a commonplace participle of the exercise, but not necessarily memories of the surrounding occasion. These are ours, and remain separate from the artefact. Remember lining up before the camera, smiling, waving, someone acts the goat everyone laughs, the photo’s taken it may not have everyone at their best so another is taken. The sombre and dreary reality that existed in earlier photography has dissipated as we have a more ready access to the means of the production of such images and its technology improves. The camera abates all things that are of the banal, that operate daily, that we would be involved in outside this ritual. With each snapshot, with the camera and the ritual of taking photos a process elevates us temporarily where our images are shifted into archive. The archive explains in part our family history and also touches on other histories that exist in other archives of the same type. A mass of related archives that Through this medium the domestic scenario is better explained to us. As we ourselves are ever inculcated and invested in the success of the archive as a mediator of our history in relation to our unfolding present. The process, here also contributes to our understanding of the image as an artefact in an age of a mass ingestion. Our part the process aids the saturation of photographic and visual culture into our daily lives.


This black, for me is a black of memory. Charred wood – burnt out embers. A dark and deepening sadness. Feel it on streets, overcoming like a turning cold. A man selling the herald outside a Westfeild shopping center, eyes stare straight. Not a staunch look but empty hollow eyes. The black of an emptiness resides there, off setting 


Notes from memory of ambient sound. I recall the sea in regular wakes. Imagine cicada’s loud, like planes overhead and all around but these are hidden from sight. Walking through long grasses – dried, bleached white. Arms aside. Legs making/following paths, fingertips through grass, brittle, ruslting.


A buried cigarette in the dirt. Where the grass makes it as apart of the blanket of earth as a fallen leaf or texturing shadow. There it was forgotten and he was himself again. One of the many enjoying the sun and this respite in the shade. A singular son, alone and tired. Found leaning in rest, found by the wind and light and all that encircled and met the surface before his feet. Here he is witness, as a son of the day; to apart of its wondrous expanse, of which his eyes and memory record but slight and biased evidence.


The flash of black between the images of light.  A black body of night without silence or calm reveals a brief glimpse of depth.  The gap the missing, the nothing is what resounds.  Trenches between the blitzkrieg

Silence to map and portion a galaxy for the floating memories of others, far away from where those memories could do harm.  Haunting perpetual grief enclosed in the glare of blinding points of reference all ominous and adrift in his mind.  Pierced by white lights the painful reminders of what remained imprinted forever.  

The flash of black between the images of light.  A black body of night without silence or calm reveals a brief glimpse of depth.  The gap the missing, the nothing is what resounds.  Trenches between the blitzkrieg 

This is the constant that exists forever between the transitional visceral texts we can speak and understand.  But in itself is it nothing?  Is it a silent rest, between each change of camera angle, each scene change for or loud advert?  Is it a layer of black below the visual world?  A bed of dark sleep a revealed calm that is quickly gone? 

The black light that filled the ever expanding universe of night within him offered supreme spaces adrift between each point, that hadn’t yet been colonised by sadness, where dreams and hope remained bridges into the unknown.


All here is of the sorrowful veil; this inherited tragedy that lies unmoved – Is of a sublime substance; of an archetypal presence and is therefore everywhere. Although never here, or ever realised total, or as tangible so that it may be discarded. Not as a site, or a lock-up close enough to breech


It’s been dark for hours. In the back seat, us kids are too small to see out the front. The roads old, the road’s near empty. & The car shakes on every turn. Revs up and down, with the changing gears. Its only when a car passes – and hi-beams off – that, for a short time we can see each other in the car. Otherwise this is a darkness seems like its not going anywhere. Black sky with a darker tree line. In the back my sisters asleep and I’ve woken somewhere in the darkness. I’ve been watching power lines out the window for a while. They follow the road, but seem to follow the car too. They look like guitar strings being strummed. Cartoon like though, and drawn by a hand I can’t quite see in the distance. Quickly drawn changes, between four strings, five, down to one or two. Rising up, above the window. Flicking past like an old film. Angles change, the camera zooms in and out. The lines, move with the road. We feel the car rise and fall and the lines with us. At times I lose them in the darkness. Seeing only two flat planes of black moving against each other, tress before the sky. Then, I look again and the lines have returned. A soundtrack felt in vibrations inside the car. I rest my head against the window, and feel its song in my head. It’s the sound of the road and of moving. A singing of nearing the next place. Where it’ll be bright, and we can stand and walk, or sleep on the floor in our house.


The windows open. Air cycles through from the drivers side. Cool air blows over my forehead. The other window’s closed. The sound of wind consistently from the right has my left ear popped. A high and shrill pitch, it stays this way for a while after the windows’ closed. The winds wound away with the handle. Closes off making a stifled sound like a gasp. A temporary silence. The emptiness is filled when we become aware of the sound of the engine – its centralizing drive fixes things for a time then fades. It sinks into an ambience – out of focus. This is a type of silence that we mediate. I turn on the radio. To stations particular to the region. Just half an hour one way or the other and our cities trail into suburbs, then into some semblance of a rural location. These stations can’t follow along the same lines. Outside of coverage areas or each time the car sinks with the road – or beneath a hill – It’ll happen through these ranges. The soundtrack, which makes trips seamless, trips and collapses. The radio’s feed cuts out. It’s all right though, for our traffic must at times breakdown. Murmur in segue way, have the circulative failure & collapse. This is when we become concerned with regard our transition. Is it all it could be? It’s not comfortable any more, now that we’ve become aware of such distances. We become more aware that we are in a limbo, that transitional stage before we emerge elsewhere.


How can you have legs that long? Two feet standing in places separated by so much distance. Are you taller than Hikurangi? With legs as long as Maui’s waka. Feet standing in places separated by time, with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. How can you walk like that? Are there many places that you rest? You’re no pungawerewere. So I don’t think you walk alone. I think you keep falling over, and the people in between, are all about keeping to keep propping you back up. I think when you talk there are echoes that carry far flung places with you. And you might talk, but maybe what you say is an echo spoken from elsewhere.


There’s this weird thing when you are Māori at University. & likely for a minority at any university. Some lecturers just want you to teach them. And you can sometimes feel, that maybe you should have never gone there in the first place. Maybe you should have stayed where you were, cos that’s what got you to uni in the first place. And you woulda learnt more from just talking with your whānau and friends, and learnt more from just looking out for your people. But you remind yourself, that your there to get a degree. And you gotta go through this, cos that’s what white people do, how are we any less? Any way it’s hard to look out for a lecturer. When they only want you to help them to learn more about how the ‘other’ could help them to make sense of their own field of study. Example: I was doing post-grad at AUT and talking with my supervisor about a work I was making. It was, for me about surface, and scarification, and moko, and all sorts of things to do with connection, like Foucaults interpretation that ‘Power is inscribed on the body’. When my supervisor jumped up as if he had a revelation. It was a revelation that he had after I had explained it to him. My revelation – became his. He jumped up. With his arms in the air, he started shouting “It’s all about skin!” “It’s all about skin!” And he kept shouting that as he left the studio space. A few years later he had an exhibition at Gow Langsford. Where he was exhibiting silicon skins. I dunno, he missed the mark. They were white silicon skins. I had talked about research into the skins from early cabinets of curiosity. In those cabinets they used to have skinned people from ‘Others’, Africa and the orient. He shoulda done something different. Instead of making a fake gesture, that becomes a parody of whakautu.