Ian Conrich: Abstract and Biography
Abstract: This paper will consider the presence and function of the aquatic Kiwi Gothic as it appears within fiction centred on the shore and the foreshore as well as the ocean. The texts that I consider range from the children’s book Low Tide (1992, by William Mayne), to the short films A Moment Passing (1997) and Delores (2003). Across islands of isolation and insanity and a haunted coast, to a sunken lost ship , sea creatures and demons, fearsome mermaids and deadly fishing trips, I will explore the extent of the aquatic Kiwi Gothic in a country which I have defined as a “perilous paradise”. Within the Pakeha myths of New Zealand, the country is seen as an Eden but, as I have argued, if it can be regarded as “a principal and primordial landscape, then excess and disorder can also be observed”. Crucially, these myths commonly address the land and not the surrounding sea, where I would argue that New Zealand is yet to properly engage with the presence of its seascape within its films and literature.
Biography: Ian Conrich is Associate Professor in Film Studies at Stockholm University and Honorary Professor at the University of Vienna. Previously he was Associate Head Research at the University of South Australia, Professor of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Derby and the founding Director of the Centre for New Zealand Studies, Birkbeck, University of London. He is Principal Editor of the Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Associate Editor of Film and Philosophy, and a board member for Studies in Australasian Cinema. He has been a Guest Editor of the Harvard Review, Post Script, Asian Cinema, and Studies in Travel Writing.
He is the author of Studies in New Zealand Cinema (2009), Easter Island. Myths and Popular Culture (2011), The Cinema of Sri Lanka: South Asian Film in Texts and Contexts (2024) and co-author of Gothic Dissections in Film and Literature: The Body in Parts (2017) and Imagining Easter Island: Representing Rapa Nui in Comic Books (2023). He is author, editor or co-editor of further fifteen books, including: New Zealand Filmmakers (2007), Contemporary New Zealand Cinema (2008), The Cinema of New Zealand (in Polish, 2009), and Rapa Nui-Easter Island: Cultural and Historical Perspectives (2016). He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Historical Society.
He is the author of the chapter “New Zealand Gothic” in the volume A New Companion to the Gothic (Wiley-Blackwell , 2012). He also contributed to the volume Maritime Gothic, published by Manchester University Press, which will come out later this year.
Paola Della Valle: Biography
Paola Della Valle is Associate Professor at the University of Turin (Italy). She specializes in New Zealand and Pacific literature, postcolonial and gender studies. Her articles appeared in, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Textus, NZSA Bulletin of New Zealand Studies, Le Simplegadi, Il Castello di Elsinore, RiCognizioni, English Studies, Semicerchio, Altre Modedrnità and Loxias. She has published the monographs From Silence to Voice: The Rise of Maori Literature (Auckland, 2010), Stevenson nel Pacifico: una lettura postcoloniale (Roma, 2013) and Priestley e il tempo, il tempo di Priestley (Torino, 2016). She has contributed to the volumes Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures (2011), Contemporary Sites of Chaos in the Literatures and Arts of the Postcolonial World (2013), Uncommon Wealths in Postcolonial Fiction (2018) e Antroposcenari: Storie, paesaggi, ecologie, (2018), Trees in Literatures and the Arts: HumanArboreal Perspectives in the Anthropocene (2021). She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies and a board member of AISCLI.