Digital / FVEY: Upstream data collective.


Saturday 27 November
Livestream Victoria Room | Christchurch 
Town Hall
Ōtakaro River 
10:00 onwards


New Zealand has been a part of the Five Eyes Treaty since 1948. Spying on the Russians during the cold war, the Vietnamese during America’s invasion, on Kim Dot Com, on our Pacific neighbours, on every country the USA has ever invaded.

Upstream collection is a way of collecting data so it can be analysed by the NSA, the GCSB? Maybe a few government organizations or corporations? From cables under our oceans and rivers.

I will be doing my own data collection by rowing upstream from the mouth of Avon River / Ōtakaro to the center of Christchurch with five eyes watching me, watching you.

An act of futility. 

You can engage with work by watching the live stream in the foyer at Ron Ball Studios, or you can find me on the river.  


Sara Cowdell is a New Zealand performance artist and curator based in Melbourne, Australia. She is the director and founder of Performance Art Week Aotearoa and previously the performance curator at Playstation Gallery. As a performance artist, Cowdell utilises multiple modalities including dance, costume design, video, collaboration, installation, and photography to explore society through a formalised and qualitative intimacy.

Drawing on her background in Anthropology, she engages in ethnography through interviews and conversations. These conversations form the conceptual core of her work, where the communion between interviewer/interviewee resonates across spatial, somatic relationships. Cowdell’s work strives for a raw viscerality and lingers on the uncomfortable textures of lived experience.

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