Mike Hewson

A voyeuristic portrait of life inside as it was lived before the Christchurch earthquake.

At a collapsed building in Christchurch, New Zealand, artist Mike Hewson's eerie installation is a trompe-l'oeil vision of the past.

In "Homage to Lost Spaces," at the half-standing Cranmer Courts, Hewson used plywood to patch up windows and rebuild walls, erecting a shell of the stone building’s former shape. The boards show mixed-media portraits taken from inside the studios of artists—including that of Hewson’s brother, riding the bike in the image below—who worked in the building before it was destroyed in February, 2011. Together, they offer a voyeuristic portrait of life inside the building as it was lived before the earthquake.

Christchurch is in the midst of a rebuilding process after last year's earthquake, and the building, like many others, is scheduled for demolition next month. This is Hewson’s third project in the abandoned spaces of the city. A previous work, the Re:START project at the Cashel Mall, stressed the desire to preserve traces of the disaster in the rebuilding process. At Cranmer Courts, Hewson expressed a similar sentiment: "So many buildings have already come down without giving people the chance to appreciate the memories… I’m glad people got a chance to really appreciate it and its history."

Images courtesy of Mike Hewson

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

  2. Transportation

    CityLab University: Induced Demand

    When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works.

  3. Transportation

    America Would Happily Pay Uber An Extra $7 Billion

    Economists put a (big) number on the ride service’s consumer surplus in 2015.

  4. Maps

    The Squirrel Census Answers a Question You Weren’t Asking

    How many squirrels live in New York City's Central Park? Finding the answer was surprisingly complicated.

  5. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

×