Host A Brooch is a jewellery exhibition with a twist.The project transforms urban debris into wearable artworks and explores how these work in the world. The public are invited to 'host' a brooch on an excursion through the city to see how it activates connections their surroundings.  

The Host A Brooch 'depot' is located in a converted shipping container. Operating like a bike-sharing system, the public are invited to 'host a brooch' on an urban adventure. Just as bicycle transforms our experience of a city – producing new sensory experiences, routes and encounters -, jewellery also alters how we encounter a city.

Walking around the city, the body becomes the vehicle for a mobile intervention. The brooches claim a prominent position on the body, demanding attention and provoking conversation. As remnants of the city, they also draw attention to overlooked aspects of one’s surroundings, evoking material histories and connecting us with the material ecology of the city.   

Taking part, the goal is to wander the streets aimlessly: see where the brooch takes you; see what happens  - like a Situationist psycho-geography. On your adventures, take photos showing how the brooch connects you to your surroundings. 
Over the six weekends, each brooch is worn by multiple people, resulting in a myriad different experiences. Wearers are asked to document their experiences with photos and notes. These accumulate in the exhibition, becoming a cartography of these jewellery-led adventures.

Host A Brooch is one of many projects that currently exploring ways of reinvigorating Christchurch city through the arts. Although architectural and infrastructural change will take time, the arts can respond more immediately to reinject life into the city.

A catalogue will be produced to document the project.
Contact us (hostabroochATgmail.com) to request a copy.


How can jewellery alter our engagement with the city?

Cities are vast conglomerations of matter that evolve over time to meet the human need for protection and resources. They operate as elaborate ecosystems animated by flows of matter and energy[1]As highlighted by the recent earthquakes, notions of the ‘urban’ and ‘natural’ dissolve in a field of interacting geological, biological and social processes.

By attaching ‘bits of the world’ to our bodies, jewellery has the potential to connect us to this world. Beyond assertions ‘Self’ (signifying relationships, social groups, personal identities or memories), jewellery opens us up to the world we inhabit and the processes that constitute it. Jacqui Chan explores how jewellery can engage with the material ecology of the city.


In her practice, Chan fosters reciprocity between jewellery and the urban condition using the analogy of a saprophyte – organisms that live on decomposing matter and release vital nutrients into ecosystems . In In Praise of Saprophytes, Flavio Albanese advocates that architecture becomes ‘a saprophytic machine capable of incorporating and metabolising at different levels the physical and cultural materials of today’s space, in order then to put them back into the cycle of life reassembled in different sequences'[2]. With such a logic, jewellery practice becomes a process of feeding off and feeding back into the city. This shapes a practice where materials are diverted from their course towards landfill, transformed and recirculated in wearable configurations.

1  De Landa, M. (1997). A thousand years of nonlinear history. New York: Zone Books.  
2   Albanese, F. (2008). In praise of saprophytes. Domus, 917(Sept 08), editorial.  Domus: http://www.domusweb.it/magazine/article.cfm?id=148710&lingua=_eng

This project has been made possible through the generous support of: