Forget about the symbolism of light

Mischa Kuball,  Solidarity Grid , 2013-16. Photo by Bruce E. Phillips

Mischa Kuball, Solidarity Grid, 2013-16. Photo by Bruce E. Phillips

Published in: 
Mischa Kuball // Solidarity Grid - Otautahi Christchurch 2013–2016
edited by Blair French
published by Koenig Books, London
ISBN: 978-3-96098-238-8


Forget about the symbolism of light and the grid as a metaphor for civic unity. I wanted to experience Solidarity Grid by Mischa Kuball but not as an artwork. I wanted to understand Solidarity Grid as a utilitarian artefact of the urban landscape and one small part in a larger psychogeography. A sequence of lamp posts like any other to be passed by and taken for granted. For public art to be truly meaningful, I believe it must do more than just occupy a site and demand attention. It must amplify the surrounding space and be a portal for people to connect with times beyond their present moment. 

It is for these reasons, while on a one month visit to Christchurch, I joined the morning running ritual of local Cantabrians by jogging past this odd assortment of lamps that flank the Ōtākaro Avon River in Hagley Park. Each morning the 21 lamps faithfully greeted me often shrouded by the autumnal mist that absorbed their mix of blue and yellow light. Some days I failed to run and when I did, I would walk past in the evening accompanied sometimes by a hedgehog or fleetingly by a rabbit. It was these encounters, the life occurring around Solidarity Grid that new meanings started to emerge for me.