Underground superstars, Cortina will be putting themselves on display at the High Street Project for the opening of their exhibition, it’s probably better if you don’t know us on Tuesday 9 August.
The Wellington based trio describe themselves as a Halfway House Art/Rock Band while their exhibition will let their fans do the talking. As lead singer Bek Coogan explains, “There is a total absence of us in the gallery exhibition. We want the audience to get to know us by using our fans as a guide.” The exhibition will contain relics of past performance including poetry, costumes and artwork all given to the band as gifts. There will also be a famous shard of glass thrown at guitarist Ace Hurt’s head during one live performance.
What started off as a simple investigation into the bands following, evolved into some rather more personal questions. “We wanted to investigate who are fans are and came to the realisation that perhaps we are our biggest fans. And most importantly of all, we started to ask, have we actually got any?”
Cortina (possibly the only NZ band formed while hitch-hiking to Wanganui) are yet to record their first album but have a huge following around the country due to the unpredictability of their live act. While the music is a clash of performance art, punk, death metal, new wave and dance music, the stage act has included everything from mince pies and Kermit the Frog outfits, to Kindy trikes and Camel Hoof. It’s all VPL and builders crack. They’ve opening for Peaches at the Big Day Out and played with international sound artist, Bob Log.
Heralded for “representing a culture outside the TV dream” the three artists confront their audience with a white trash slice of NZ culture. And they couldn’t be more proud.

Cortina is:

Ace Hurt: aka Matt Hunt, a heavy metal demi-god from outer space, and an up-and-coming artist represented by dealers in Auckland and Sydney

Dreamboy: aka Richard Falkner, a bass playing pirate and working actor

Bek Coogan: MFA Massey University 2004, Bek likes to pash boys from Palmy and wear jumpsuits.

Fucked off. Free neck braces. City

These days, inanimate objects or even fashions and concepts are likened to living, breathing entities. Cities are described a lot in this way. You often hear a city referred to as this living, breathing, seething mass, or whatever. The city is our living environment -constantly absorbing our energies. We walk all over it heavily, spray paint on it, puke in it's gutters and piss all over it. We yell into the open air in groups, thus lashing it with emotion-filled sonic absorbs our blood. We decorate cities a lot in many different ways and each impression comes with a certain intention and emotion. Like when a spray paint artist scribbles some angry relevant statement, or when a drunk, angry being throws a bottle against a wall, the energy leaves a stain; an ethereal, sticky residue of emotion and thought. This happens everyday all over the world in all cities. Look at the planet next time you're hovering out in space -look down at the countries -look how the barely comprehendible amount of concrete everywhere is connected to the earth. Think of all the emotion and energy that collides and fucks it's way through...into the core of the planet.

Everything is alive.

So you're in a gallery (and it's mostly wooden, and you mostly shit piss and fuck with the best of them!) and and and and YOU,along with everyone including the walls are getting pelted with the phat breaking wrecking sounds of electro-drums. They whirl and whirl. They own your eardrums for thirty minutes, and you absorb it like Billy would. Good old Billy.

Keyboards vibrate and ripple through the midrange like being half numb and hooked up to a half drained battery (when things sound special and dying). Bass guitar grabs it all and hauls it kicking and screaming from one end of the songs to the other in that reliable, I'm-a-pack-of-ninjas-in-stealth-kill-mode kinda way. You splash a whole lot of colour and spice over it all and it sparks and spits out energy and the energy is strong and powerful, positive and forward-future-pointing. It marches sensible and haphazard all at once.

Hi, Cortina,
thanks for owning me and setting me free all at once.

cORtinA: it is Bek CooGan, dreambOY, Ace HuRT.

Opening night seems different
due to performance aspect.

All the important people were there like
Bob, Jane, Shelly and Biff.

There is anticipation in the air

I hope for something scandalous
to happen to someone in particular,
but nothing does –i get briefly upset.

I feel this weird tension

also -it's around certain people,
I smell the taut
scent of a potential frenzy.

I keep hoping for someone to get exposed
and thrown into an awesome
attention-grabbing spectacle,
but still, they don't.

cORTINA: DreamBOy and Ace Hurt and BEk CooGan.

CortinA: Ace HUrt, Bek CoOgan, DreamBoy.

It's hard to be this heavily affected by art and music these days, coz everything is such a package, such a retail item, and too much importance is placed on image. All you have to do is look at all the rock bands at the moment: almost all of them sound the same -almost all portraying this empty, surface persona of cool and now and me and me me me...perfect for the unchallenged, surface operator, perfect for the major record labels obsession with that fleeting, monthly-flavourism marketing...coz we all know that empty things loose their taste - go off - curdle.If you feel it spitting on your mind you can buy a very special type of shower cap -it's like a Spam-Block kinda sorta thing...special integrity filter, specialspecialspecial. If we didn't have bands like Cortina- bands with substance and a fucking message...some depth and dimension...if if if if if if if if if if if if if if if if

I watched the smooth workings of a trio that run their whole operation from a friendly bubble of purity and strength. They have created their own world; a well-oiled force of existence...and a significant portion has been documented for you to see at HSP. There's a collective magnetism in the work that seems to include you, and tell you a story, blow you some kisses, then hold your hand and walk you around, pouring beer on you.

The work that covers the High Street Project walls are a story. Energy radiates from a cluster of gig posters -each one of those posters has been mass-copied and plastered all over New Zealand concrete. Their power and intention has been absorbed by everything in large and small doses. It's that wreckage and shambolism and weird punctuality and beer bottles (that still remain scattered in little groups), and prolific historical energy that manages to cream the very atmosphere with colour and sugar and baby and yeahand the everything you may have felt:
So many feelings and elements; you could touch something and feel a multitude of things; slices of intense sensation from moments passed and fossilized:

(Destruction and Power and
War on normality and booze
and left-fieldism
Purity and Dr Sample
Target practice with boredom
Love and dirty for the moment
Fall backwards this way or that,
get caught or
maybe not, don't crash yet-
Crash now if ya wanna coz we have force fields
and neck braces that Read: FUCKED OFF!

'It's probably better that you don't know us', -coz you may just like us, and then everything will have to change.)

trickle down the gallery walls and spill onto the floor...

Review by Tristen Deschain