Christchurch is the only city in the world that has had its own official Wizard since 1982. He was already the world’s first art-gallery-appointed Living Work of Art. For forty years neither title and accompanying roles have been granted to anyone else anywhere in the world. He not only created his own social identity, which includes living in an alchemical marriage but, as an ex-academic cultural theorist and experimentalist, he designed the existential universe he has been living in since 1972.
The exhibition illustrates his metamorphosis from academic to wizard at the Universities of NSW and Melbourne, his sensational arrival in 1974 to speak daily in Cathedral Square, his creation of Alf’s Imperial Army as a combination of sport and theatrical performance. He is careful to avoid self-righteous bullying of others preferring to use his wits and long experience as a community therapist to make fun of his opponents.
The exhibition includes major sections on his miraculous rain dances, ingenious avoidance of the Census, the hilarious war with Telecom over the change of colour of their phone boxes, the spells cast for the Canterbury Crusaders, the unusual candidates, who between 1972 and 1990, stood for the Imperial British Conservative Party in Australia and NZ, the Wizard’s part in the narrowly won battle to save the earthquake-damaged Cathedral from being bulldozed, the mythical implications of the Queen’s Service Medal awarded to a Wizard. With Cathedral Square no longer suitable he has recently moved to The Arts Centre, where, in 1975, he gave his first public lectures in process cosmology for the Technical Institute.
Pūmanawa Exhibition Space, 1st Floor, Boys High Building, The Arts Centre.