EQ memorial to strike many chords

News News & events

22 Feb 2013

CPIT’s earthquake commemoration artwork, to be unveiled at the Madras St Campus on Friday 22 February, will be a “listening chamber for interaction and reflection” according to artists Chris Reddington and Stuart Lloyd-Harris.

Reddington won the CPIT Council commission with his proposal for Song Song, which combines strong visual and aural concepts in a large scale sculpture that is elemental, unique and sensitive to its role as a memorial.

Reddington and Lloyd-Harris have subsequently created a unique sculpture of curved and rusted steel plates that visitors must step inside to experience. Inside are steel strings tuned to 28 tonal intervals to acknowledge the 28 people associated with CPIT who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.

Both artists are looking forward to seeing how people interact with the work.

“It is a new type of sculpture in the city – it is invitationally interactive and it requires no skill set or virtuosity. You don’t need to have musical understanding to participate,” Reddington says.

The carefully considered balance between reflection and playfulness should resonate with Christchurch residents. While the sculpture encourages its audience to experience the vibrations of the strings as a parallel for vibrations through the earth and through our lives, Song Song also requires interaction and is therefore inherently active and celebratory.

“The work is designed to be a lasting recognition of how all of our lives have changed,” Reddington says. “It has a serious role as a memorial but it is also a celebration of how we have each negotiated our experiences of the earthquakes.”

eq commemoration

CPIT Council is very pleased with the outcome of the commission, Council Chair Jenn Bestwick says. “The artwork acknowledges the significance of the earthquake events on CPIT and the broader community and will provide a lasting place where students, staff and the community can reflect on what has been lost and what will be created in the future.”

Many of the symbolic elements were integral to the concept right from early conversations between Reddington and Lloyd-Harris. Other elements have evolved through the process of creation and the artists being willing to ‘listen to the work’ as the materials have asserted their own particular influences and impacts on the emerging sculpture.

“We have been servants to this sculpture as, over the summer, we’ve researched the tonalities of the strings, responded to the characteristics of the steel and the strings and allowed the sculpture to evolve. It’s a privileged position to have that role. We have loved the project and seeing the ideas through to completion,” Reddington says.

The work has been constructed at a workshop at CPIT and will be moved to its permanent site outside the main entrance to the Rakaia building during the week. Support and input from Texture Plants, Arko Exterior Architecture, ConCut and Opus International Consultants have helped develop the surrounding site, ensuring that the sculpture is surrounded with landscaping, concrete benches and a reflective, polished concrete pad base.

CPIT’s earthquake commemoration and artwork unveiling begins at 12.45pm this Friday 22 February, Madras Street campus.