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By Martyn• 11 Dec 2017
A friendly and familiar face around Wellington's music and arts scenes, Flo Wilson is a locally-based composer, producer and artist. In a former life under her Foxtrot alias, Flo toured on both sides of the Tasman, played at festivals like Camp A Low Hum, Chronophonium and Lines of Flight, and opened for Baths, Dan Deacon and Don McGlashan.
A recent post-graduate student in Sonic Arts at the New Zealand School of Music, Flo describes her interests in music and art as stemming from computer music, embodied performance, spatial design and immersive installations. She has exhibited and performed at the Audio Foundation, Adam Art Gallery, and Enjoy Gallery as well as presenting new works for the New Zealand School of Dance for the Choreographic Season, and showing at the Audacious Festival of Sonic Arts in Christchurch. She also recently premiered her first solo exhibition in the capital, and released a considered and thoughtful EP of experimental composition and avant-electronica titled (Please) Keep Breathing.
For this edition of Where Do You Go? I asked Flo about her favourite things to see and do around Wellington (and beyond).
I'm a sucker for music in a gallery space with all the hard, reflective surfaces that let sound go on an adventure and continue the magic long after the note has been played.
Coffee, tea, hot beverages, or perhaps cold beverages that aren't alcohol, cold brew, iced tea...where do you like to go for these sorts of drinks, and why?
Machete on Boulcott is awesome – they've got an excellent selection of teas from Noble & Savage (highly recommend the Maple & Walnut Rooibos if you're partial) and iced shrubs if the heat is tumeke. There's a dog there that you are allowed to pat (big drawcard) and they also have Guatemalan-style tacos. I love all things lime-related and most things dog-related so it's a pretty unbeatable combo. I'm much more a tea person than a coffee person, so tend to haunt places that you can get a really good cuppa. Nikau is great if you're feeling the fancy business and art life, or Pranah in Newtown is awesome for their alternative milks (coconut milk, highly recommended) and real cosy atmosphere.
Music, since you're in the music scene, where are your favourite places to go and see music around the capital, and what local acts are you digging at the moment?
Any shows put on in unusual spaces are great to be honest, and I'm a sucker for music in a gallery space with all the hard, reflective surfaces that let sound go on an adventure and continue the magic long after the note has been played. Adam Art Gallery and City Gallery are definitely two favourites, but if I'm going to see a band play it's hard to go past Moon or Caroline.
I have so many local music loves... WOMB, Mermaidens, Namesake, Estere, Jon Lemmon... but that is honestly scratching the surface because I love so many of the artists in Wellington and in New Zealand! I can't wait to discover more over the summer though – it's one of my favourite things about the season.
What’s your favourite summer escape from the city?
Little Oneroa on Waiheke island – conveniently adjacent to the chip shop which is a very strong summer vibe. I don't get out of Wellington much during the summer to be honest, but if I do it's usually for a music festival or a show! So I guess those are my favourite escapes.
I love the Eva st and Leeds st walkway because pizza, soda and the bakery are all there and food is the best especially such delicious foods all in proximity there. And if you're into beer you can always hit up Goldings while I grab a pizza from Pizza Pomodoro.
With the silly season coming up, if you wanted to do some xmas shopping, where are your favourite places to hit, and why?
Depends who I'm buying for, but if it were clothes I'd probably hit Lonely for great clothes/ fancy undies. The Lonely store has this plush velvet couch in the middle of the shop and it feels like a lil oasis and is very gentle vibes in there and the service is amaaaaazing. If I was looking for something beautifully made for the home like some beautiful ceramics, I'd go to Precinct 35, and if I was looking for something in the 'treat yourself' category for secret santas I'd probably go to Wellington Apothecary for a matcha face mask or something like that. All of these places also smell real good which is a great vibe when you're stressed out trying to do Christmas shopping. It's just so relaxing to have good smells around you. Is that like smell ASMR? I don't know?
What are your top three left-of-centre summer must-do activities or attractions?
Last summer I loved the all day dance party held in the Mt Vic quarry which featured lots of incredible producers and DJs from around the city, so I'll definitely be there for that when it happens again. I'll be definitely heading to Thorndon Pool again, and probably will do a drive up to the wind turbines to do some field recording or running some sound experiments in the barracks there. But also, Newtown Festival because Newtown is literally the best suburb in New Zealand.
What are your favourite streets in Wellington, and why?
I love the Eva st and Leeds st walkway because pizza, soda and the bakery are all there and food is the best especially such delicious foods all in proximity there. And if you're into beer you can always hit up Goldings while I grab a pizza from Pizza Pomodoro. I love Riddiford st in Newtown because it has all of the great food options and there's sun even on a bad day.
I'm involved in a newish initiative through Toi Pōneke and Te Kōkī (NZSM) which is the second year, the Sound Art Residency. I'll be collaborating with Olivia Webb who's an incredible artist in her own right and I'm really enjoying having the opportunity to collaborate with her. It's really special that something like this exists for Wellington-based artists, so I'm stoked to have the opportunity.
Name your three favourite outdoor drinking and/or dining spots around the city and tell us why you love them so?
Olive cafe because their courtyard is the perfect afternoon hang and they have great vegan options, Ekim burgers because burgers are great and the sauce on the chips is truly a thing of delicious beauty, and lastly, Maranui for their deck in summer with their big breakfast is one of Wellington's greatest delights.
What are the coolest new projects or initiatives you know of around Wellington that people might not be aware of?
I just saw this amazing new artwork along the council buildings on Victoria/Wakefield streets today! It's this giant work by New Zealand artist Johnson Wirehira called 'Ngā Kākano: The Seeds' and depicts Kupe the Maori explorer who discovered NZ, and those who came after. It's absolutely massive, must have taken ages to do! I love giant works, they're always super impressive.
I'm involved in a newish initiative through Toi Pōneke and Te Kōkī (NZSM) is in its second year, the Sound Art Residency. I'll be collaborating with Olivia Webb who's an incredible artist in her own right and I'm really enjoying having the opportunity to work with her. It's really special that something like this exists for Wellington-based artists, so I'm stoked to have the opportunity.
Finally, what is your favourite section in the public library, and why?
The music section that holds all the music scores is really great. Some of the scores are so beautiful, especially if you pick up some of the ones published in Japan; there's a publishing house there that binds them with such great care that each one feels so precious (even though it is a copy). I recommend having a leaf through scores by Toru Takemitsu, they look like works of art in their own right. The architecture, fashion and design sections are all great too. It's nice to be surrounded by so many points of view and experts in their field. Sometimes I get sad I never have time to read them all! But yeah, love the local library, A+.
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