Monday 12 September 2011

Where do brooches come from?

In case you're wondering, this is where it all began....
Read the full story here.

Interactive City - Weekend Three

Thanks again to this weekend's enthusiastic participants and visitors.
This weekend coincided with an on site exhibition of the new Draft City Plan (in the council's giant geodesic dome) and SCAPE's City as Memory and Imagined Futures panel discussions (as well as the 10th Anniversary of 9/11). This generated conversations ranging from excitement about a future 'city in a garden', to tears over the suggestion of leaving destroyed heritage buildings as ruins.

Fittingly, Host A Brooch participants ventured further into the city and around the cordons. People reported being absorbed in the detail, colour and structure of their surrounding, appreciating what remains, and as a result feeling uplifted. One woman summed this up saying "I looked up! I was amazed at what I had not seen before. The brooch gave me a different perspective of the city and I was surprised at how much of the city remained."

In the context of streets choked by hurricane fencing, road cones and barricades, Host A Brooch encouraged people to interact with and continue to participate in their urban surroundings. The brooches often resonated with the city's ubiquitous orange emergency structures, allowing these earthquake-reminders to be appreciated as something fun and even beautiful amongst the grey. They became theatrical props: road cones became a lens through which to focus a view of the brooch+wearer+city or adornments in themselves; barcades became supports for the body; and local portaloo-humour surfaced. Some participants selected situations and assumed postures to communicate specific thoughts about the brooch and the city.
For one overseas visitor, the giant barrier mesh brooch drew attention to the controlling presence of mesh fencing, barricades and road cones - placed to obstruct movement. These allowed her to reflect on the fear associated with the earthquake and human relationships to land more generally. In the drained bed of Lake Victoria the brooch drew her attention to massive earthmoving machinery as well as the cracked soil; both signs of human intervention on natural systems. She staged a series of photos, reclining on a bulldozer, posing as a conqueror on the golf course, and hiding from the earthquakes.
For others, the brooches themselves felt interactive. One woman comments on feeling a sense of company despite being out alone - perhaps anticipating the audience that would share the experience via the photos. Other's claimed the brooch made them buy coffee or demanded icecreams!

This week, several people also commented that including themselves in their photos was challenging. They remarked that they were accustomed to taking photos of things around them, but Host a Brooch made them position themselves as part of the scene. One woman commented that she sensed disapproval from bystanders when she took photos of herself in front of the rubble. She speculated that they thought she was being a tourist and that taking photos in front of the rubble was bad taste. People even honked their horns at her - whereas, noone noticed when she shot the rubble alone. Others preferred to take photos of the brooch without the body. This had a different effect, connecting the brooch-as-object with its surroundings, allowing the body to remain a bystander.

Three weekends in, the wall down at the Host A Brooch Depot is quickly filling up with photos of people's adventures. Come on down and take a look or you can also see larger number of them on flickr.


Host A Brooch has been a team effort, and wouldn't have been possible without the support of the following people.

A special thank you to:

Thank you to Signdisplays for the fabulous sign and vinyl printing:

Thanks Activa for our racy red flooring and Steel & Tube for the steel mesh:
Thanks Verve for your excellent service and beautiful printing, and thanks Badge King for the ever-popular Host A Brooch badges:
Thanks to Action Scaffolding for their creative scaffolding and great team work, and thanks to the Arts Festival for providing the container:

Thanks for RMIT Link Arts & Culture contribution towards travel costs, and Huia Wines for their supporting the Host A Brooch opening.