Watch Them Closely

Auckland's Inner-City Monuments


  • Murray Edmond



Statues, derive, Situationists, Captain Cook


The method employed in this intervention is an active performance in writing, using the voice of a docent, who guides a small party of the curious, and possibly bewildered, on a walking tour of Auckland’s inner-city monuments. The subject of what gets commissioned, created, and installed under the general heading of a public monument can be placed within the context of the recent and continuing range of disputes and confrontations about monuments—Rhodes in England and South Africa, Civil War statues in the United States, Cook in Aotearoa New Zealand. This article attempts a mediation (not to be misread as a ‘meditation’) of the messages a selection of Auckland’s city monuments send out on a daily basis, subliminal as some of them are. The intention is to carry out a ‘close reading’ of Auckland’s monuments and, hopefully, to alter the wave-length of the light in which the city is bathed.


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