Wellington NZ 2023–2024

Defying physics, HALO appears out of the ether in the Metaverse, an ancient stone circle and a futurist monument. Suspended above the ancestral harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the public artwork is created by human touch and experienced through the camera lens of a smartphone floating at monumental scale between the earth, sky and sea.  Its ephemeral presence disperses the sun- and moon-light, evoking celestial haloes which form part of intersecting cosmologies and ancient weather lore. Emerging as if under a spell and held by the gravitational pull of the moon, the virtual monument honours a deep past as it conjures new possibilities.

Time-worn gold and grey veins track around the circular form. The sculpture is embedded with the grain of a unique New Zealand white marble codified using close studies of the stone at its source and in built structures. With origins in the Alpine fault lines that formed the World's 8th Continent, Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia, the crystalline rock holds the histories and spirits of ancestors and land. Treasured for its beauty and strength, the marble was first quarried at large-scale in the early 1900s. It expressed the permanence desired for colonial monuments and civic structures, including the Parliament Buildings and the National Archives, the infrastructure and silhouette behind HALO in this capital city.

As a circle of unity, the virtual sculpture harnesses creative technology as a step towards sustainability. Its making required no large-scale quarrying, fabrication, logistics, or carbon offsets. Instead, the sculpture is cut, carved, edged, polished and manifested in extended reality. Its transitory medium raises questions of the absent presence, and replaces permanence with discretionary space and potential for personal and collective agency.  Inviting people to look up and out through a future focussed lens, HALO conjures the magic of curiosity, aspiration and dreams.