'Loss adjusters' want to hear your stories

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Aaron Hawkins, left, Jed McCammon, Jamie Hanton, Clarke Hegan and Damian Smith, collectively known as The Loss Adjusters, want to process your stories of loss into pieces of art.
SAM GOLD

FUNNY MEN: Aaron Hawkins, left, Jed McCammon, Jamie Hanton, Clarke Hegan and Damian Smith, collectively known as The Loss Adjusters, want to process your stories of loss into pieces of art.

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Just what Christchurch needs - more bureaucrats from out of town who want you to fill in a form.

But these bureaucrats want to process the city's stories of loss into pieces of art.

The Loss Adjusters are one of many cultural attractions who will brighten the Re:Start mall and inject new cultural life into the central city from this weekend.

The Art Beat initiative will include musicians, street artists and performers and will run every weekend until the end of February.

The Loss Adjusters are a fictional organisation, created by four artists from Dunedin, aiming to poke fun at the Earthquake Commission (EQC) claims process.

Re:Start shoppers will be able to share a story of loss with the four "bureaucrats" to inspire works of art.

The group's stenographer will fill in a specially designed "claim form", an artist will draw sketches of the lost object and a photographer will take a Polaroid image that represents the story of loss.

Then the blind-folded "adjudicator" will either approve or decline the claim with a randomly selected rubber stamp. The claimant keeps the form, sketch and photograph.

Dunedin curator Jamie Hanton, who grew up in Christchurch, said he wanted people to tell their stories.

"We wanted to capture how earthquake bureaucracy has infiltrated into everyday language and changed how we tell stories," he said.

"It kind of made sense to satirise EQC. They are a pretty easy target. We are making light of it, but it is a really sensitive issue.

"We are looking forward to hearing the stories. It doesn't have to be a lost object. It could be something intangible, like hope."

Hanton said he was apprehensive about how quake-rattled Christchurch residents would respond.

"We are worried we might get a negative response. We don't know how people will react," he said. "I hope people will find it cathartic and a little bit humorous. They could make really good Christmas presents for someone. They are handmade and presented beautifully."

The Loss Adjusters will be in the Re:Start mall on November 16 and for two weeks from December 11.

Christchurch artists will be enlisted during the two-week residency.

Art Beat facilitator Deborah McCormick said Art Beat aimed to set the tone for the new city.

"We wanted to create an accessible arts experience that would show people what we hope the new city will be like. We have lots of artists responding in interesting way to the situation we find ourselves in."

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- The Press

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