In his first feature-length film, photographer Gavin Hipkins presents a richly pictorial essay of images of the natural world – and the often forlorn evidence of humanity's passage through it. Hipkins draws his themes for Erewhon from Samuel Butler's Erewhon: Or, Over the Range, published in 1872. Butler had worked on a South Island high country sheep station and it's easy to suppose that his objectification of a wholly invented 'native people' is an ironic posture owing something to his experience in colonial New Zealand. Likewise his concerns with the coming dominance of industry chime eerily with contemporary concerns: vegetarianism is the law of the land in Erewhon and machines have been banished to museums for fear of their becoming conscious.
Erewhon was premiered on Sunday at the New Zealand International Film Festival and screens again today at 1.30pm at Auckland's Academy Theatre. You can view the film trailer here.
Image: Gavin Hipkins Erewhon (Production Still)