Sam Hamilton/Sam Tam Ham: Te Moana Meridian

Sam Hamilton/Sam Tam Ham (b. 1984, Auckland, New Zealand/Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa) created Te Moana Meridian as a vessel for proposing a radical new United Nations General Assembly Draft Resolution to formally relocate the prime meridian from Greenwich, London, to Te Moana-Nui-ā-Kiwa/the South Pacific Ocean. Since its inception at an 1884 conference in Washington D.C., the prime meridian has functioned to implicitly serve the hegemonic ambitions of the British colonial empire. Rather than serving as a “beacon of humanity,” the prime meridian today more resembles a bygone imperial relic. Just as all roads once led to Rome, all time and space coordinates still point to London as the “center of the world.”

Te Moana Meridian proposes to elect a new “center of the world” while acknowledging that doing so has the potential to reframe the dynamics of global power. Where should this new center be located? Te Moana Meridian proposes the open waters of Te Moananui-ā-Kiwa/the South Pacific Ocean. As Hamilton says: the prime meridian should be “anchored in the global commons and personified by the ocean; connective, circulatory, omnipresent, integral to all life. To avoid drowning, we must become the ocean.”As a five-channel video installation, Te Moana Meridian features an international cast of performers, artists and practitioners, including: Mere Tokorahi Boynton (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tūhoe), Holland Andrews (NYC, USA), Dr. Tru Paraha (Ngāti Hineāmaru, Ngāti Kahu o Torongare), Crystal Akins Meneses & The Lincoln City Children’s Choir (Oregon, US), Clara Chon (Aotearoa/NYC), Rhonda Tibble (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki), British mother and daughter performance duo Deryl and Ruby Thatcher (UK), Alexa Stark (US) and others.

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