Exhibition at Film Archive in Auckland

Posted Tuesday 26 Aug 2014

Kissing Babies - A lighthearted look at NZ politicians and how issues were represented in the 20th Century with archival moving image.

Until 19 September 2014

Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision, Auckland

(formerly The Film Archive -  more about their new name here)

In light of the upcoming general election, Kissing Babies is a moving image exhibition presenting a lighthearted look at New Zealand politicians and how issues were represented across the 20th century. Footage from as early as 1911 shows the flourishing of the novel moving image medium, providing a new platform to communicate political messages on.

Prime Ministers Savage, Fraser, Holland, Nash and Holyoake try to make friends with the camera to get your vote. Michael Joseph Savage stares down the barrel of the camera to proudly proclaim that his 1936 Government was looking forward to New Zealand "again taking place in the vanguard of human progress". Fourteen years later it was National's turn and the film You Must Decide (1949) clearly spelt out the ideological divide between Socialism on the one hand, and its "menace to a man's freedom" on the other.

Later footage will show that current political campaigning ain't what it used to be, and neither is the media coverage. You'll see politicians such as Bill Rowling, Robert Muldoon, David Lange, Jim Bolger, Bill English and Helen Clark pepper the people with promises, bamboozle them with facts and figures and denounce their opponents, with a range of the big issues of the past covered: law and order, taxation and the state of the economy.

A full wall projection in Kissing Babies also features a red/blue face off as historical election advertising from the two largest parties are contrasted in chronological order. Our polling tells us that you'll be surprised at just how much and how little has changed.

The Kissing Babies exhibition will run from 20 August until 19 September, 2014, the day before the general election on 20 September!