views | 21 november 2016

As we come to terms with the latest shakes, we traveled down south and interviewed some locals to find out what effect the Christchurch earthquakes have had on them

Words: Mitch Alison  

Portraits: Russell Kleyn

 

On the 4th of September 2010, and again on 22 February 2011, Canterbury was rocked by two devastating earthquakes.  As Christchurch rebuilds, we traveled down south and interviewed 8 young people to find out what effect the earthquakes have had.  From having family members trapped under rubble, to losing lovers, and studying in hypothermic-temp tents these guys have been affected in ways you can’t measure on the richter scale. These are their stories...

 
Georgia.jpg

Georgina Chirnside, 18

 

What’s your dog’s name?

Pirate!

Where were you born?  

Christchurch :-)

Do you have a job?

I've signed up to volunteer at the local co-op but apart from that I'm a full-time dog mum.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?

Go to the beach, go for a drive, wait for the sun to come out.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?

The other side of the tunnel is amazing, I spend most of my time there, it feels homely and is very beautiful. The worst thing is town for sure, there's always too much traffic and people and it's loud and ugly.

How did the earthquakes affect you and your family?

Stress, SO much stress. Don't feel great about getting into it.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The Abel Tasman :-))

What was the last gig you went to?

Savage

What do you hope to achieve in life?

Knowledge, a veggie garden and to create a beautiful home.

Who do you most admire?

Charlie Filipov and Flo Claridge are the most talented,  underrated comedians I know.

What’s your favourite poem?

How could I pick? I would have to say any of the works of one of my closest friends Isla Reeves-Martin. She just won the rising voices regionals, she's so talented it’s ridiculous! Isla is pure ray of sunshine.

 

Audrey Baldwin, 29

 

Where were you born?
Triangle, Zimbabwe

Do you have a job?
I have several jobs - curator, coffee wench, performance artist, life model, arts enabler and general rabble-rouser.
I make coffee at C1 Espresso part time as well as life modelling.

I'm the headmistress of the Chch branch of Dr. Sketchy's Anti- Art School, which runs events every 6 weeks that mix life drawing with drinking and burlesque.

My other main job is as curator for First Thursdays Chch. It's an arts and entertainment event that takes place twice a year; sort of like a one-night only art focused block party with music, markets, food, shopping. 

I'm a performance artist pursuing my own practice as well, so I'm often working on new projects, collaborations and performances alongside my paying jobs.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?

When I'm not working or running events in an effort to make Christchurch fun, I enjoy eating, drinking and socialising.

You'll find me at exhibition openings, quaffing free wine and giving paintings some side eye or talking up a storm.

I'm a bit of a fixture at Smash Palace; my local pub which is a bar on a bus. They often host Dr.Sketchy's there on the same night as 'bike night' which brings together a great assortment of people - beer, burgers and banter.

There's also a thriving burlesque scene in Christchurch, so I'm often out supporting my friends in their tassel-twirling antics.


What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?

Best - the potential for real change and the rebirth of a creative, vibrant city. The passionate, generous and supportive arts community that I have around me.

Worst - ongoing everyday inconveniences(roadworks, road closures, no CBD) that chip away at your sanity and will to live and the tyranny of Gerry Brownlee and the "bureaucratic constipation" surrounding the rebuild.

How did the Canterbury earthquakes affect you and your family?

My family and I were very lucky - we escaped it all physically unscathed. My parents left ChCh, moving to South Australia, because the after-shocks were too much for my Mum, who had spent 22 Feb trapped on the 17th floor of a building whose stairways had all collapsed.

I lost a lover in the earthquakes, which really threw me. I didn't realise at the time how badly it affected me, but I was a wreck for a long time. I coped by mucking in and really throwing myself into the community - digging silt in the worse affected areas of town and being part of creative events.

My workplace had to be demolished, but my boss took really good care of me, ensuring that I maintained an income and had work to do while we all reeled and waited for the dust to settle. Ironically, the earthquakes really cemented my dedication and investment in this city. I made the decision to stay and be part of the rebuild and resurgence of the arts in Chch. The upheaval ended up giving me a lot of opportunities to create art in public spaces and learn about how to use art as a tool to bring people together and strengthen communities.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I'd love to spend some more time in Cape Town and New York.  In the long term, Christchurch is where I consider home; in an ideal world I would do artist residencies all over the world but always return home.

What do you hope to achieve in life?

I hope to create change for the better through my art and actions. I hope to be remembered for my actions and my absurd misadventures. I'd also really like to have a couple of baby goats at some point in my life.

Who do you most admire?

Xena: Warrior Princess, Mykki Blanco & Hannah Wilke

What effect have the earthquakes & re-build had on public art in Christchurch?

It's opened up the floor to community and grassroots action, with a more democratic approach to a lot of public art. Thepost-eq emergence of The Social, Art Beat, First Thursdays, Plant Gang, Gap Filler, Greening the Rubble and FESTA are all very different from the traditional model of public art - less monumental, more community focused and ephemeral.

I feel that the public feel more invested or a sense of ownership of public art - there's more engagement and conversation (and outrage) than there was before. Now that the institutions are reopened (CoCA, Chch Art Gallery), they seem to be working harder to engage with the non-art public through public programmes, events, performances and new ways of using their spaces. Art was an important salve for our wounded city and I think that role continues.

 

Jordan, 19

 

Where were you born?
Christchurch

Do you have a job?
Nope!

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?
Techno techno.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?
Best thing is definitely being in Lyttleton and worst is probably our destroyed city.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Right where I am now, Lyttleton.

Who do you most admire?
My friends & family.

What affect have the Canterbury earthquakes & rebuild had on the skate scene in Christchurch.
Well... we got a new skate park out of it... so that was pretty cool.

 

Annie, 21

 

Where were you born?
Sydney

Do you have a job?
Yep, part time with lil kids

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?
Ummm, hang out in the harbour with m8s, make weird arts or go dancing.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?
Being able to hide in Governors Bay and my beautiful friends. The city itself is pretty depressing but it's okay I love the people here and there's usually something fun to do most weekends.  

How did the earthquakes affect you and your family?
It didn't too much compared to other families but prob closed off a few opportunities.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Osaka or Kyoto in Japan

What do you hope to achieve in life?
Turbo happine$$

Who do you most admire?
Me xo ♥

What effect have the earthquakes had on children in the city?
From my experience working with them and asking them about it, it's made them a little more generally anxious and scared than I assume they would be without experiencing heaps of earthquakes at a really young age.

xoxoxoxoxoxo ♥

 

grams:

interview: mitch alison (@mitchalison)

photographs: russell kleyn  (@russkleyn)

 

hashies:

#chchanges #views #opinions #feature #perspective #viewpoint #interview #everyday #people #portrait #mitchalison #russellkleyn #photography #inspiration #christchurch #newzealand #loandbehold #loandbehold.nz

 

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