Everything you need to have a beautiful morning, sleepyhead.

Jane and Louise Wilson

on December 4, 2011

The Sereis“Erewhon” takes its name from the title of Samuel Butler’s satirical novel of a young British man who goes to New Zealand to build a new life on the isolated continent – a classic colonial experience. Jane and Louise Wilson encounter the vast landscape looking particularly at two sites in the South Island. The once functioning mining town of Denniston on the West Coast and the recently vacated sanatorium of Queen Mary’s hospital in Hammer on the East Coast. These expansive exterior spaces coupled with the interiors of neglected hospital buildings, dating from 1916, emphasize the physical and emotional seclusion of a particular time in New Zealand’s history. After the First World War the country suffered huge losses of its young male population. Their devastation, and a need to colonize a relatively new country, prompted a discreet government sanctioned approach to implementing early eugenics policies. This resulted in a proliferation of state run sanatoriums and asylums, where recovery and prevention were instilled on willing and unwilling patients. The level of commitment to the idea that every person should be physically fit became a national preoccupation.


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