Travel

Christchurch’s Rekindle fuels the art of recycling (in a city that needs it)

How can artists help a city where 70% of the buildings have come down since its 2011 earthquake? Recycling the building waste into art, and in the process shining a light on the importance of reclaiming reusable resources from waste.

Rekindle is a Christchurch-based social enterprise that seeks to bring about creativity and positive change in the way resources are valued. They use creativity and craftsmanship to salvage what was once destined for landfill.

Rekindle’s early focus was on timber from waste within residential demolition in Christchurch. Chairs, tables, and household goods were beautifully re-crafted into limited edition products.

In 2014, attention focused on one of the most ambitious tasks imaginable: how to reclaim every single item from a house, document it, and then produce art from the contents. And in the process, cast a light on the value within items that are so often bound straight for landfill. This was so important given the thousands of houses being pulled down in Christchurch following the quake. The house was deconstructed by hand over nine days and every piece, down to the last splinters, was saved.

Juliet from Rekindle proudly showed me the book which Rekindle produced and which painstakingly documents every single item of material from the house, its dimensions and the quantity. This item of record was used as the basis for artists to pitch their own ideas for producing work from the waste. The book itself is a piece of art.

The entire home, having been fully reused in more than 150 pieces of art, will be shown from the 5th June to the 23rd August 2015 at Canterbury Museum in an exhibition called Whole House Reuse.

Click here for more information on the upcoming exhibition.

Resources from the Rekindle Project
Resources from the Rekindle Project
Participants of the Rekindle Project
Participants of the Rekindle Project
19 Admirals Way. Photo by GuyFrederick
19 Admirals Way. Photo by GuyFrederick
Deconstruction day, image via GuyFrederick
Deconstruction day, image via GuyFrederick
A full trailer full of house parts, image via Kate McIntyre
A full trailer full of house parts, image via Kate McIntyre
Resources from the Rekindle Project
Resources from the Rekindle Project
Trudo making lath chairs
Trudo making lath chairs
Tim McGurk and Trudo Wylaar's Lath chair
Tim McGurk and Trudo Wylaar’s Lath chair
Dallas Matoe carving
Dallas Matoe carving
Papahou by Dallas Matoe
Papahou by Dallas Matoe
Tim McGurk's Double Bass-Basin
Tim McGurk’s Double Bass-Basin
A stool crafted by Annelies Zwaan
A stool crafted by Annelies Zwaan

About the author

I co-founded Lost At E Minor in 2005 and run Conversant Media.

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