Parasite, @MAY FAIR
Written by Francis McWhannell
Photographed by Kate van der Drift
Date 31 July 2020
Parasite, an appointment-only space on Karangahape Road, was founded this year by Daniel John Corbett Sanders, who has done much of late to highlight the low visibility of LGBTQIA+ art at Aotearoa’s larger institutions. The booth includes work by three artists from the community: Tash Keddy (some might recognise the name from a certain long-running medical soap opera), Ali Senescall, and Samuel Te Kani. In keeping with his enthusiasm for fucking with mainstream comfort, Sanders has radically transformed the booth template. One of the concrete walls of the space has been blown open, exposing a mesh of rebar. Rubble litters the floor. (The oculus remains overhead, but how long it will stay there is anyone’s guess.) Whether the ruinous state is the product of a righteous revolution or of an apocalyptic calamity born of a lack of revolution remains unclear.
The works are generally affordable, much more accessible than the usual art fair fodder. Their placement is careful, quietly resisting the chaos. Keddy shows a trio of poster prints suspended by chains. Senescall has a print on a wall and a video playing on a monitor that leans against a fragment of same. Te Kani is represented by a book of erotic fiction titled Daddy. I confess that I’m a bit of a Te Kani fanboy. He’s polymathic in talent, having produced compelling installation art, as well as all manner of texts: fictional, journalistic, and ‘reflective’ (the piece on Campbell and Watson’s May Fair collaboration is his work). He side-lines in writing personalised erotica, ‘epics that’ll make you 💦’, examples of which are available for the insanely low price of NZ$50 via his Instagram account—a digital artwork in its own right. Te Kani’s mode, regardless of the medium he’s playing with, seems wholly in sympathy with that of Parasite. Both are wittingly outrageous, unabashedly queer, and fully keen to bring you along for the ride.