SOLIDARITY GRID - Ōtautahi Christchurch 2013–2016

ed. Blair French

with essays by Nic Low, Vanessa Joan Müller, Hugh Nicholson, Bruce Phillips, Lara Strongman, Nathan Pohio, with a foreword by Deborah McCormick and Anthony Wright, as well as a conversation between Mischa Kuball and Blair French.
Koenig Books

ISBN 978-3-96098-238-8

Mischa Kuball’s Solidarity Grid is a permanent public artwork that is also a gift to the people of Otautahi Christchurch, New Zealand in the wake of the destructive earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. This gift, a gesture of the artist’s solidarity and labour, was formed not only of the artist’s idea, but also of 21 functioning streetlamps, donated by 21 cities from around the world. The project evolved over three years – from 2013 to 2016 – thanks to the work of SCAPE Public Art and Christchurch City Council. The gift of each lamp stemmed from a range of civic, economic, cultural and personal relationships, and involved complex processes of communication and organisation – processes which built connections between the recovering city and international communities. These relationships form a key element in the project. The lamps were installed on a pathway alongside Park Terrace which is both a boundary between the inner city and the major city parklands and gardens of Hagley Park, as well as a popular route for cyclists and walkers. All the lamps differ from one another in design, size and culturalhistorical background. Their new location extends their symbolic and social significance whilst maintaining their original function as sources of light. Featuring extensive photographic documentation as well as contributions by the project curator, local art historians, curators, and visiting writers encountering the city in new way through the artwork, this book documents the Solidarity Grid project from its roots in a practical artistic response to an urban crisis, through its development and to its realisation as a monument, a place for reflection and a valuable contribution to the civic infrastructure. (Blair French)