Life force

July 4, 2020

For the past few months I have found it difficult to post anything here because I have been processing the tragic events in the world, as has everyone.

The death and devastation caused by the Covid 19 pandemic combined with many governments poor response leaves me feeling that the chances of these governments acting as they pledged to eliminate carbon emissions to bring global warming below 1.5 degrees are very slim.

We are lucky that the New Zealand government acted swiftly and decisively supported by our population of 5 million people to eliminate the pandemic within our island borders.

Now there has never been a better time to redesign the worlds economy in favour of the health and wellbeing of people and the planet rather than GDP and the economic wealth of a few shareholders in corporations.

This calls for a systemic ecological approach to redesigning the economy and civilisation before it unravels completely as we have been warned by 15000 of the worlds top scientists.

There are many movements collaborating to articulate this new story of an ecological civilisation. From the Circular Economy, Doughnut Economics, Drawdown, Institute for Ecological Civilisation, Forum for the future to Extinction Rebellion.

I support these movements by making ephemeral art that I hope encapsulates the ecological values we need to adopt for the survival and flourishing of life on earth.

Life force. Ice sculpture, Wanaka 2020 Martin Hill


European Union: ‘Our house is on fire’

December 4, 2019


Burning Issues. Land art installation by Martin Hill 2013

The European parliament has declared a climate and ecological emergency. So what urgent actions should governments take?

These are some of the measures that WWF recommends governments can take to legislate to protect the biosphere:

This means phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and using this money to expand renewable sources of energy.
Putting climate action at the top of government spending priority list, alongside health, education and security.
Legislation that requires all new homes to be zero-carbon and delivering efficiency measures for other homes. This would save money, stop the wasting of energy and reduce emissions.
Pushing forward our commitment to end sales of diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030 will tackle climate emissions and air pollution.
Restoring nature addresses the natural removal of carbon from our atmosphere. We need to plant trees, restore peatlands, expand wetlands and farm efficiently.



Fine Line connected at last

November 7, 2019

In October over three days of continual storms Philippa and I with our longtime friends Len Gillman, Lea Wilson and David Newstead made the final sculpture No12 on the Fine Line Project on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park.

Huge lenticular clouds driven by the storm rose over the Pinnacles and Mt Ngauruhoe was barely visible until late in the afternoon of the third day, when there was a brief clearing. It was long enough to capture the sculpture in the foreground and the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe where we made the first sculpture on the Fine Line over 20 years ago.

Twelve circles pierce the disc referring to the 12 sculptures connected by the Fine Line around the earth.

With the ecological climate crisis upon us the world now enters its most critical stage in history, humanity’s choice of trajectory will decide its fate. With this in mind we feel the Fine Line Project could not be more relevant.

Huge thanks to all those who have helped us along the way.

We are now working on the book and digital media.

Truth well told

June 4, 2019

At last a young leader who tells it like it is. Greta Thunberg.

For the last thee decades the world has watched as political leaders have tiptoed round the edges of the worlds climate crisis caused mainly by global warming carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. This is what leadership looks like and it comes from a brave teenager.

I watched this and felt ashamed for my generation.

Learning by doing

January 25, 2019

Last week after 18 months’ planning a delightful group of 14 students from Bowling Green University Ohio arrived at our studio in Wanaka for a three-day experiential workshop in environmental land art.It was one of the hottest days this year as we all gathered for a talk and video presentation about how Philippa and I came to work together around the world, sharing our art practice, publishing and exhibiting our many land art projects that explore the transition to a regenerative model of progress based on the cyclical way nature works.

The students were aged between 19 and 22 and had chosen this trip to New Zealand because they wanted to learn about our culture and environment – particularly our approach to ecological and social sustainability. They had spent days on environmental conservation projects with scientists in the mountains beforehand. 
They expressed intense interest in our work and good discussions flowed.

Early next day we gathered for a short walk to a beautiful spring and wetland where they set about creating their own environmental sculptures from natural materials which they photographed.

The variety of materials and forms they chose was diverse. Each of them expressed their ideas and point of view creating a wide range of ephemeral sculptures, photographs and video.

Some of the group worked with us to finish a piece made from raupo stems and flax
thread which we floated on the lake. We all hiked up above the wetland to photograph the sculpture floating below. 

Later a rain shower put an end to the proceedings but Philippa and I returned later to complete two versions of the work rapidly and capture photographs in golden light just before the sun dropped behind the mountains.

We all met at the wetland the following day to witness any changes to the sculptures and to photograph them in morning sunlight. The students were all pleased and happy with what they had achieved and experienced, one was so keen on her piece she carried it off to take home to America.

Creative collaboration with French couture perfume studio

November 30, 2018

We are delighted to have received samples of three perfumes in our collaborative perfume project with Celine Verleure of Olfactive Studio in Paris.

Each of the three beautifully packaged fragrances in the Sepia Collection were launched internationally this month.
Celine’s concept is to team up a perfumer – in this case Bertrand Duchaufour – with a photographer to create a perfume evocative of an image.




























Big In Paris !

November 26, 2018


In May this year at the invitation of Vente – Privee Paris, my photographs of ephemeral sculptures were displayed on their new building with the largest digital facade in Europe.
A continuous cycling slide show of 15 works measuring 18m x 12m were viewed by 350,000 people daily.

Now they are to be exhibited again on 28 – 29 November 2018

A huge thanks to Vente – Privee for exposing our work to so many people.


Vente – Privee Digital Facade Paris from Martin Hill on Vimeo.


Circle of Life

October 9, 2018

This is my recently completed sculpture commissioned by a family in Wanaka.

Blackened Kanuka trees stand shielding a steel circle. The sculpture is designed to evoke a harmonious relationship between human systems and nature.

By placing the circle at the centre of everything a dynamic visual balance is created between the rough chaotic trees, the machine made circle and the backdrop of landscaped garden and wild mountains.
In nature the circle is sacrosanct. Everything that lives must die, everything that eats is eaten. Modern life is breaching planetary and social wellbeing boundaries. We can only become restorative with design that emulates natural cycles in industrial ecology and by taking only from the earth what can be replaced by nature and placing on the earth only what can be absorbed by nature we can return to the circle of life.

Fine Line Vanuatu

August 14, 2018

In selecting the location for the 11th sculpture on our Fine Line global project we were looking for a wild place with a dramatic landscape and interesting Pacific Island culture. We found these on the island of Tanna the southernmost island in Vanuatu. The site for the sculpture was the crater rim of Mt Yasur a continuously erupting Stromboli volcano near the south coast of this tropical Melanesian island.

On 19th June we arrived on Tanna via Port Vila, the capital where we were greeted by our homestay hosts Isso and Rachel who provided lodging, transport and logistics for the expedition. Isso is a person of influence in Tanna and his skills and contacts proved essential to achieving our project.

We knew that on an erupting volcano we would not be able to spend the time needed to create a significant sculpture, nor would there be any materials other than volcanic ash and lava with which to make it. So our plan was to use local renewable materials from the abundant jungle that covers most of the island.

Isso introduced us to the indigenous giant banyan trees and demonstrated their capacity to grow aerial roots from above down into the soil where they mature. Vanuatu natives manage and harvest these roots for many uses including building their homes. The banyan is actually a vine not a tree.

We learned how to cut these extremely versatile roots and strip the bark for its strong fibre. Using the roots and fibre from several banyans we constructed, over two days, a large latticework sphere.

Having enlisted some helpers from the village we loaded them and the sculpture onto Isso’s ute and drove the wild mud roads to the volcano. We had previously made a reconnaisence trip to check out the location of the best view of the eruptions, but conditions had changed and we had to go to a different spot on the rim. Our hired helpers quickly carried our sculpture up using poles on their shoulders – one of them in bare feet on the lava rock!


Fixing the sculpture to the mountain was essential because strong winds threatened to send it down into the crater.

Working with the cameras was extremely difficult with ash and fumes blowing at us. The eruptions were not predictable and exposing each shot required 30 seconds. As the sun set the eruptions became more visible and the crater glowed red with belching gas and occasional giant blasts shooting streams of red hot lava into the air.

After an hour we got better at judging the eruptions and camera exposures, as well as using some fill lighting from the full moon.
The primal experience of looking into the fiery depths of the earth was awe inspiring.

When Isso and our team retreated down the mountain we were exhilarated to find ourselves alone in the dark on the fully erupting volcano, our only company the sculpture, the moon and the stars.

There is only one more sculpture to make to complete our Fine line Project, joining the line round Earth where it began 24 years ago in New Zealand.

Nature’s design

June 18, 2018

This month Polis magazine Germany invited me to present my environmental sculptures and write about my design philosophy for their international publication.
Polis magazine focuses on urban development as well as recent design and architectural projects. For more information please visit their website:

Here is the 6 page article:

Polis Magazine