A Short Run: A Selection of NZ Lathe Cut Records
Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hut
15 February – 7 June 2020
At the foothills of the Southern Alps in the late 1980s, Peter King re-engineered a then-outdated technology, developing a new way of “cutting” audio into transparent polycarbonate plastic.
Lo-fi but affordable, Peter King’s lathe cut records sparked an explosion of limited-edition releases from NZ’s innovative underground music scenes. Generally produced in runs of 20–100 copies, these records often featured bespoke hand-made cover art, liner notes, booklets, and various other inserts and modifications; audio, artefacts, aesthetics, and attitudes that are practically unfeasible within the economies of scale required by the commercial music industry.
Researched and curated by Luke Wood, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at the University of Canterbury’s Ilam School of Fine Arts, A Short Run brings together a broad selection of these releases, alongside more recent developments and outcomes of lathe-cutting record technology. Drawing from the private collections of artists, musicians, bands, and small independent record labels around the country, this exhibition explores the intersection between music and design in the radical margins of New Zealand culture.