The Host A Brooch project kicked off by fossicking for materials around Christchurch. With a mandate on salvaging, nothing could be taken from demolition sites without written permission. So the materials were pursued to the sorting yards and refuse centres where they were ending up. There, we encountered vast mountains of debris. Concrete, timber, internal linings and scrap metals were sorted into piles, interspersed with a range of domestic items. Our haul included bits of damaged appliances (oven, gas heater, washing machine, and industrial air-conditioning unit) aluminium joinery, burnt floor boards, rubble, signage and barrier mesh. Through this process of demolition, transportation and sorting, these materials lost their ties to specific buildings and human stories, and became part of a broader (eco)system.

Following the analogy of the saprophyte, each material was broken into components and reassembled anew. Repeating parts and connections, the structures grow largely of their own accord. Echoing the city’s current state of transition, the old and damaged are transformed to allow new possibilities to arise.