Christchurch, four years on

“So many empty spaces.”
- Yeah, you realise the city feels so empty every time you walk through it. I forget that all the time.
“But I like how the emptiness creates space for art. It’s like art seeps out of the ground; on to the walls, and the roads.”
- Yeah, there’s some sort of post-apocalyptic chic to it, I suppose.
“Very morbid term to use, but, okay, I can see that…”
It is easy to differentiate a tourist from a local in this city. The tourist is very fascinated by the shambles and ruin, and the way the destruction has been transformed into art. The locals have stopped seeing these things. It’s just an urbanscape for us. Perhaps we need sometimes need people from outside to tell us what a messed up but beautiful city we live in. Sometimes, maybe it pays to take a walk through town with a visitor, and see things through their eyes.

 

ben2

 

 

What I love about this city is the everyday-ness of it. I am fascinated by the usual, the routines of it all. How the view from my window looks out to a few residential houses and uni apartments, and you can hear cars and buses sighing past on a nearby street – faithfully like clockwork, every morning, every afternoon, and every night. Sure we took some hits four years ago, but today is today. There hasn’t been and will never be another today that is more today-er than today.

 

ben3

 

It is the last few days of summer; the cafe buzzes and hums as though it is a live thing, basking in the afternoon sun. Four years since a tragedy. But if you sat still enough you could be convinced that this is just another city going about a Monday ritual and simply being alive. Nothing more, nothing less — just like a Monday in Tehran, Oslo, Jakarta, Maine, Lima, Xian and Casablanca.

 

Artwork and words by Ben.

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