HOOP-LA’s fleeting Bird in Hand, produced for the annual Auckland Heritage Festival, collated local events from the past into a single edition newspaper.
Issued for Friday 11 October, 2013, and distributed free by a ‘paper-boy’ to commuters at the New Lynn train station, all the contents were sourced from local newspaper archives.
The front-page story is of a railway accident. Train passengers in 2013 read about the 1913 train crash as they crossed the very same bridge on which it happened, bringing their own commuters’ local knowledge of place into an abrupt collision with past events, while pointing out that public transport has had a place in Aucklander’s lives for longer than it seems.
Other stories highlighted pollution of the local Whau river, the opening of the new “computer building” and a photo of elephants from Bullen’s Circus grazing where the shopping mall now sits. The situations vacant section advertised roles for ‘girls and mothers’ to work in the Crown Lynn ceramics factory, long since closed down, and in the ‘for sale’ column baby budgies (suitable for talking) could be found among other household items.
Bird in Hand used the vehicle of a common-place object to bring a local spatial and social history into temporary public circulation through a dynamic means, a newspaper that circulated with commuters as they in turn circulated in the spaces it chronicled. In so doing Bird in Hand acted to unsettle a static view of the everyday spaces of the New Lynn suburb, allowing them to be read for different future trajectories and possibilities.