Cecelia Faumuina

‘Asi – The presence of the Unseen

In 1993, Wolfgramm referred to the climax in faiva as ‘asi (the presence of the unseen). This spirit of artistic expression is an agent sometimes identified when Oceanic people work together to bring artistic works to their apotheosis.

Faumuina’s research seeks to understand how, within this process, ‘asi might bring forward a powerful sense of expression rooted in a relationship between involvement and a sense of belonging.

Emanating from a critical consideration of faiva and ‘asi, the research considers the dynamics of collective development and performance. Video, sound, drawing, poetry, performance and talanoa (everyday conversations where the people involved share their personal experiences) were collected and analysed through a process of artistic and analytical reflection. The research considers two bodies of work. The first a co-created work called Lila which was developed by a team of research participants. The second was the development and performance of the researcher’s experience and synthesis of thinking in a faiva (performance) called FAIVA | FAI VĀ.

The significance of the research lay in its contribution to an understanding of ‘asi, so we might identify and consider its potential agency for resourcing creativity and belonging inside the development and performance of faiva.

Centre for Design Research
Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa
School of Art and Design

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau,
Auckland University of Technology


Susan Hedges susan.hedges@aut.ac.nz
Mandy Smith mandy.smith@aut.ac.nz

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© Centre for Design Research, AUT University 2021