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MEANWHILE is delighted to present To take the waters, an exhibition by Aliyah Winter. 


To take the waters is part of an ongoing project investigating the biography of Hjelmar von Danneville, an internee imprisoned on Matiu Island in 1917 during WWI under suspicion of being German. Danneville became well known locally for ‘eccentric’ dress: closely cropped hair, men’s shirts, jackets and hats with skirts, often partaking in ‘dry shaving’. Danneville’s outspokenness on matters of the war, gender non-conformity and indeterminate nationality made Danneville a highly suspicious person in the eyes of the authorities. Interrogations and medical examinations were carried out before Danneville was sent to the internment camp on Matiu Island. With an already tarnished history, the camp was surrounded with secrecy. Rumours of squalid conditions abounded, the internees at several points accusing guards of abuse and demanding investigations. After six weeks Danneville was released from the camp for medical reasons, officially described as suffering “a severe nervous breakdown”.

To take the waters is an audio visual installation filmed on Matiu Island, that focuses on it’s layered history. The installation’s performance and audio elements directly respond to the architecture of the animal quarantine, which stands on the site of the old internment camp. Central to the work is Winter’s response to the surroundings of Matiu and specifically Danneville’s experience of internment, as communicated through historical material. The actions are both an effect and a reaffirmation of the institutional boundaries which led to Danneville’s arrest and internment. This work is lead from a queer relation to embodiment, where the history of erasure is felt viscerally as invisibility: to be passing in plain sight.


About the artist: 

Aliyah Winter is a Wellington-based artist whose work extends across the media of photography, video and performance. Recent projects include AURA Festival: Home Movies, with Nathaniel Gordon-Stables, Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand, 2019; Puawānanga, with Angela Kilford, WAITHUI Billboard Project, Wellington, 2018; hardening, Enjoy Gallery, Wellington, 2018; Under your skin, you look divine (group), Basement Shop, 2018; Intimate Distance, Toi Pōneke, 2017; The Tomorrow People (group), 2017.


























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Photography by Mia Vinaccia

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