Hutt at Heart

Take a sonic ride to the margins of Aotearoa’s underground music scene

From the radical margins of New Zealand’s underground music scene, “A Short Run” brings together hundreds of rare lathe-cut records, researched and curated by Luke Wood to explore the link between music and design. Opens Saturday 15 Feb with free gig at The Dowse, 4-6pm – all welcome.

At the foothills of the Southern Alps in the late 1980s, Peter King re-engineered an outdated technology, developing a new way of “cutting” audio into transparent polycarbonate plastic.

Lo-fi but affordable, Peter King’s lathe cut records sparked an explosion of limited-edition releases from NZ’s innovative underground music scenes. Generally produced in runs of 20–100 copies, these records often featured bespoke hand-made cover art, liner notes, booklets, and various other inserts and modifications. This was audio, artifacts, aesthetics, and attitudes that are practically impossible within the economies of scale required by the commercial music industry.

Researched and curated by Luke Wood, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at the University of Canterbury’s Ilam School of Fine Arts, A Short Run brings together a broad selection of these releases, alongside more recent developments and outcomes of lathe-cutting record technology. Drawing from the private collections of artists, musicians, bands, and small independent record labels around the country, this exhibition explores the intersection between music and design in the radical margins of New Zealand culture.

When: 15 Feb – 7 Jun

Where: The Dowse Art Museum, 45 Laings Rd, Lower Hutt

Cost: Free

Commissioned in partnership with Objectspace.

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Subscribe to Hutt at Heart – Te Manawa, your monthly email newsletter where you can find out about fantastic things going on across our city and at Hutt City Council.