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GPS hunt for artworks yields ephemeral prints

Ana Solo shared the animation at Cultural Conversations , alongside music from partner Danny Sugar using sounds the artist collected at the sites, and poetry read by her friend Aniquah Stevenson.

Ana also demonstrated how to print using the anthotype method.

On Christmas Day, a cyclist on a section of the Great Taste Trail wasn’t having the best time of it. Off on his bike to get a bit of a breather alone, while passing through the Spooners Tunnel, he came across a small metallic pod, lodged in the wall of the chamber.

Inside was a letter, and the promise of an art work by Ana Solo.

“It felt like you reached out to me on a hard day,” the man wrote to Solo later.

The Tapawera based artist had planted 20 pods around the Tasman region, and posted GPS co-ordinates of their location on her website.

The pods contained letters, inviting participants to stop and listen to the sounds of nature around them, and to give feedback about the experience to be incorporated into her Forgotten Sounds Heart 4 Earth project.

Those who found the pods will be gifted prints at Solo’s exhibition on Saturday, Earth Day.

The prints are anthotypes, created using photosensitive pigments extracted from flowers, leaves, and spices, which are left to develop in the sun for hours, or sometimes days.

The process turned out to be more laborious than Solo imagined, and for every one successful print, there were five others that failed.

So delicate are the prints that their exhibition will only be three hours in duration.

Originally from Spain, the artist spent 25 years living in London, settling in New Zealand in 2010

A former student of music, the graphic designer by trade pondered how she could merge music and art, and inspire people to go outdoors and connect with nature.

“The music is there ... all I need is to get people to go out and listen,” she said.

Those who found the pods, mindfully aware of their surroundings, appreciated the soft honking of two weka, the differences between each crashing wave, the songs and rustles of tūī and pīwakawaka, the noises of conversations and footsteps upon the ground.

While the process of creating the prints and the treasure hunting concept demanded time, effort, and hours of experimentation, Solo is giving away the fruits of her labour.

“If you have [the prints] out, they will eventually fade,” she said.

“So I didn't think it was fair to be charging for something that won't last.”

The illustrations may be ephemeral, but they have been scanned, and Solo has made an animation with the sequence, depicting a girl under the earth, who emerges and flies with birds, swims with whales and who then becomes the sun – a movement from darkness to light.

Solo will share the animation at the Cultural Conversations Hub exhibition event, alongside music from partner Danny Sugar using sounds the artist collected at the sites, and poetry read by her friend Aniquah Stevenson.

Solo will also be demonstrating how to print using the anthotype method

She is currently putting together a book with the prints, detailing how she made them for others who may be interested in following the same method. More information about her project can be found at

Source: Stuff, Catherine Hubbard19:00, Apr 21 2023



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