Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Walking, Talking, Reading, Writing: Rachel O'Neill

Lunchtime talk

12.00pm 08 March 2023

Local filmmaker, writer and artist Rachel O’Neill presents a playful and poetic discussion exploring the interpersonal tones and shifting arrays of voices that shape our day. Rachel will reflect on their recent readings, studies and experiments with voice and written musicality. During the talk, participants will be invited to spend some time ‘listening to the voice’ of an exhibition work of their choice, exploring it in relation to self, moment and situation. It is hoped that these personal ‘found sounds’ might generate curious ‘chords’ of experience for private or group reflection. Rachel will also read new work from a book they are developing called ‘Symphony of Queer Errands’.

Rachel O’Neill is a filmmaker, writer and artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa. O’Neill develops screen-based projects, writes books and collaborates on exhibitions and cross-disciplinary projects. They strive to seek out fresh ways to see and understand the human condition and to unearth the humour and strangeness that underlie experience. The author of One Human in Height (Hue & Cry Press, 2013) and Requiem for a Fruit (Tender Press, 2021), O’Neill will hold the 2023 CNZ Randell Cottage Writing Fellowship. While in residence they will complete ‘Symphony of Queer Errands’, a hybrid-form book that draws on poetic and musical forms such as songs, chants, score sheets, dramatic dialogue, found sonic material, beat samples and extended lyric sequences that aim to register as music with symphonic structure on the page.

This is the first in the talk series Walking, Talking, Reading, Writing exploring themes running through Life Puzzle and A dusty handrail on the track. With references to narrative sequencing and spanning physical or temporal distances, the common point of departure is a push-pull approach to language and physical structure. Each presenter juxtaposes lifted elements to different ends: making sense of the subtle absurdities of everyday life or picking over remnant colonial and indigenous forms and structures.

Rachel O'Neill holds a small green amp in front of her face

Selfie of Rachel-with-amp, photo courtesy of Rachel O’Neill