Tightrope (Video still) 2011.jpg

Tight rope 2011

Filmed in Church Street, Ōtāhuhu, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

In his recorded performance Tight rope (2011), Jeremy Leatinu’u tested the limits of the boundary between motorist and pedestrian. Leatinu’u is pictured walking in tightrope fashion down the dotted centre line of Church Street, a busy road in Ōtāhuhu, Auckland. This action was the artist’s response to a fatal hit-and-run incident that occurred on the street. Arms outstretched, Leatinu’u defines his body’s physical territory and balance of the varying limits of care and tolerance of this unorthodox use of street space and borderline transgression of road etiquette. To avoid collision, motorists are forced to negotiate the perimeter of his body. As car after car passes, varying degrees of safe distance are exercised; some overcautiously give Leatinu’u a wide berth, while others aggressively swerve around him. By willingly putting his body in a potentially harmful situation, Leatinu’u highlights the fragility of the body in the urban environment, and tests the boundary between motorist and predestrian.

Excerpt from the essay Territory and Mobility in Tamaki Makaurau written by Bruce E. Phillips. From the publication ‘Hue & Cry: Issue No. 7’.