Cottage connection – New Zealand 2018

Going into this project I was unsure of what to expect. I had little knowledge of Christchurch or of the destruction and damage caused to the city and its people by the devastating earthquake in 2011. When drafting and researching for the design our team wanted to acknowledge the past and look towards a brighter future for the local community and city. With the inclusion of food specified by FESTA, we had to find ways to incorporate memory and place into this idea.

We started brainstorming our initial ideas including food collection, materials and layout. Many materials, such as bags, crates and trolleys were suggested. Our team got together and presented our ideas to one another and from this we formed our final design.

The final design of our project, titled ‘Cottage Connections’, looks at a way in which the audience (mainly local people from Christchurch) can share their memories of food in Christchurch in exchange for a food product, donated to us by local Canterbury producers. These memories were recorded via audio recorders and then mapped on paper, to be donated back to the local community to add to their collection. In the centre of the design is a large table, made from a reused electrical spool, which displays the food donations. Three recording booths are connected to the large A-frame structures, which surround the table. The exterior of the A-frames is covered in dinner plates, which were collected by us in both Australia and New Zealand from local op-shops. The plates have been created to spin, on one side showing a map of Christchurch and the other quotes from the generous Canterbury producers who donated to us.

Our project contributes to the city of Christchurch because of the effect it has on the local people. It allows them the chance to reflect, remember and share a memory they have of food related to Christchurch. It encourages them to look at the past, acknowledge the good and bad memories and remind them that they are not alone, and together they create the heart of the city. Food is such an important part of our social life and often is the central part of many memories and stories. By sourcing food from local Canterburian producers we are encouraging the people of Christchurch to support local businesses and continue to help the city grow.

On the night of FESTA it was clear the impact that our project had on the people of Christchurch. The feedback we got throughout the night was extremely positive and many participants showed gratitude towards our design. The work was a greater success than any of us expected it to be, with our team collecting over four hundred memories that have been recorded and mapped for the local library. I’m extremely proud of our team and grateful that we had the opportunity to see our design come to life and experience first-hand the impact that it can have on the audience participating in the design. It could not have been achieved without the kind-hearted people of Christchurch who so openly shared their personal memories and it is truly an experience I won’t forget.

– Madel

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