Two Rooms welcomed photographer and filmmaker Bridget Smith as our first artist in residence, resulting in a three week whirlwind trip around New Zealand visiting well known tourist destinations and in the process discovering some secret places.
In an earlier series of work, Smith had photographed two of the most easily found constellations in the night sky of the northern hemisphere; Orion, The Great Hunter; and Ursa Major, also known as The Great Bear or Big Dipper – Smith imagines them as an anchor – as a way to place oneself in the vast tracts of deep space. Her priority in New Zealand was to visit the Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo, renowned venue for the clearness of the night sky, and there she was able to photograph the Southern Cross and Orion from the southern perspective.
Journeys in the North Island included Whangarei, where Smith investigated the Museum and Observatory. From here was revealed a community of clubs behind the museum. The Stationary Engine club, the Model Railway club and the Northland Vintage car club to name a few. Smith is interested not only, in wide open spaces, but personal and interior spaces.
This is not a new preoccupation for Smith. Her book Society, published in Spring 2007 by Steidl, documents the interiors of London Clubs and Associations, both numerous and diverse; The General Browning Moth Club, the Order of Women’s Free Masons, and the Kurdish Community centre, Indian Workers Clubs the Free Masons Club etc. This is a study about what connects people, how these connections are created and how their obsessions transform interior worlds.