The Divide

Wellington, New Zealand, 1996

Circa Theatre
Commissioned and presented by New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
Sound by composer Jonathan Besse

The Divide, with its living green centre is a dislocated fragment of nature in urban space. It is a highly contrived artefact of the natural, reminding us that the technological priorities of our contemporary world are dividing us from, rather than integrating us with nature.

The Divide has both the shocking intimacy of mother nature’s generative cleft and the disturbing allure of a path to the underworld.”
(Allan Smith, from The Divide catalogue)

Ackroyd & Harvey literally sliced Wellington’s old Circa building into two, redefining its boundaries and turning the once interior spaces into exterior grassed walls. The scale of the work verged on monumental. The Circa building had an intriguing and vivid history but was due for demolition. Ackroyd & Harvey’s intervention which split it in two and turned its gaping chasm into a living skin of grass suggested a desire to open the building up, treating it with a clinical objectivity, ‘a reflection upon the building as raw material with abstract and psychological potential.’