Monday 26 September 2011

Host A Brooch: the full spectrum...

Thanks once again to another weekend of enthusiastic and thoughtful brooch-hosters.
This weekend saw some of the most adventurous adventures, hilarious escapades, as well as a more emotional experiences.

More than ever, active engagement was pushed to the limit with brooch-inspired bodily interactions with the urban environment. Adventures were wide ranging, collectively taking in the cordons, the park, and the museum. Road cones featured prominently as both theatrical props and body adornment.
Christchurch's Triadic Ballet?

Soldiers, workmen in high-vis and even Mr Whippy were co-opted for photos...
geared up for sewage inspection

And Regan and Lennie's 'C-O-N-TEMPORARY' photo topped as our favourite to date, summing up Host A Brooch perfectly: contemporary jewellery making the most of a temporary situation.

Peoples emotional responses varied hugely. Many found the project charged their sense of optimism about the city's potential for recovery. One inner city resident sat stoically in front of a collapsed house, commenting that the juxtaposition of wearing this 'contemporary object'* with the old and damaged behind her made her feel 'grounded' (*She didn't realise the brooches were made from demolition materials). The young girl accompanying her, when asked, said she just felt 'dusty'.

However, for others the experience stirred heavier feelings of sadness, grief and vulnerability, as their brooches drew them for the first time towards scenes of destruction. Some felt challenged to confront the reality of the city and the accompanying sense grief and uncertainty. One woman arrived excited to host a brooch, anticipating a light-hearted fun experience. However she was shocked to find her walk deeply moving and almost overwhelming: she returned after just half an hour. For her it stirred trauma from her younger life, saying 'I think this was one of the most intense experiences in my life'. In a similar vein, a woman the previous weekend commented that brooch number 7, worn by her young daughter, drew her attention to the ubiquitous bright orange structures flanking the city's streets. She explained she usually maintained a positive outlook by focusing on beautiful things - flowers, trees and intact buildings - and ignoring the rest. She felt this particular brooch forced to confront the actuality of the situation and felt 'almost horrified at the devastation of the city everywhere'. This made me realise that the brooches not only heightened awareness of people's surroundings and physical relations with them, but also their coping mechanisms.

Over the past five weekends photos from Host A Brooch have been accumulating and filling the container - as many coming down as going up. This meant the container has begun to operate as an exhibition with a large number local passersby, tourists and rugby fans pausing to look over the photos. We're currently busy compiling some of these a small catalogue that documents the project. The catalogue will also include text about the project and writing by Christchurch writer Sally Blundell sharing her experiences of hosting brooches.
All participants are invited to come on Saturday (the 1st) to collect a copy. These will also be available to the public for a few dollars.

See you then.

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