Thursday, 30 June 2011

meeting country

Besides being Earthquake Country Lyttelton aswell as the whole of Canterbury has become Meeting Country:

  • meetings about rebuilding ( Where? Preserve old? Destroy old? Re-create old?Make new buildings look old? Who will do it? Who will plan it ? Who will control it? Who will control the planning? Who will plan the controlling?), 
  • meetings about geology (Why earthquakes here? Why not in Wellington? When is an earthquake an aftershock and an aftershock an earthquake? Is a 5.4 quake 45km deep the same size than a 4.5 quake 4.5km deep?Can I buy shares in geonet?),
  • support-groups for people in red-stickered houses, people living in the red zone and for people with red faces,
  • meetings for people in affected suburbs, in the CBD, or made homeless through quakes,
  • business meetings,
  • and possibly meetings for people who are sick of talking about earthquakes!

After an initial enthusiasm with huge turn outs everywhere I sense a bit of meeting-weariness at the moment. But on on Monday night I attended the inaugural Lyttelton Arts Collective meeting, and I am glad I went: it was chaired by Trent Hiles, Lyttelton teacher, organiser and artist, and Elfi Spiewack, a Lyttelton silversmith (originally from Germany).

Elfi's jewellery's workshop, situated in the Magma gallery, went down with the February earthquake. While first feeling understandably downcast by this, Elfi then went into action to make her vision come true: create a place for Lyttelton artists and the community to celebrate art, become engaged in art and enjoy all the different facets of art.

The mood of the meeting was buzzy, music from the belly-dancing class next door lent an exotic flair, great ideas were thrown around: design ideas ranged from re-using existing warehouses to pyramid, whare and waka shaped buildings. Earthships were also mentioned. Besides the expected ideas of cinema, theatre, music, studios and galleries, other suggestions included running art competitions, having annual stone-symposiums, creating courtyards and spaces for outdoor art and swapping artists with arts centers in other countries.

Not ones to sit around and waste time, Elfie and Trent were off today to meet with the Christchurch Council to share ideas from the meeting and discuss practicalities such as available land and spaces, possible funding etc.

While the destruction of the Magma gallery by the earthquake gave Elfie the push to start down this path, the idea of the Arts Collective spans time and space : Art and community go together like earthquakes and liquefaction, like Harbour Union music and tapping feet, like a giant London Street Dairy icecream and a brain freeze, like Joe Bennet and his dog, like a stitched heart on a Lyttelton chest: they belong together.

Written by Bettina Evans.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to get in touch with a silversmith in Lyttleton - Dutchman, rides a motorbike, makes jewelry - if you know him can you give him this number 021387870. i met him at a murder mystery party, he looked beautiful in a dress! cheers