Quake City - attraction or quake porn?

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 13:50 15/02/2013

Welcome to Quake City; you'll find it in the middle of Quake City. Is it an "attraction'' or is it quake porn?

Quake City opened at the Re:Start container mall last night. It is surrounded by a real-life quake city.

Put together by the Canterbury Museum, the "attraction'' includes shovels from the Student Volunteer Army encased in glass, the top of the Christ Church Cathedral spire, pictures of homemade longdrop toilets, alongside tributes to Urban Search and Rescue and others involved in recovery efforts after the February 22, 2011, quake. It also includes a liquefaction display.

Personally, I don't want to see liquefaction again, let alone pay a $10 admission fee for the privilege.

Isn't this "attraction'' more about pointing the throbbing seismograph in the direction of tourists?

Isn't Quake City the equivalent of thrusting a stocking-topped leg in tourists' faces and asking them if they'd like to tuck $10 in our knickers?

Maybe I'd feel less uneasy about this project if it was included as part of a larger museum-type display showing the wider picture of our region's rich history.

Christchurch has been affected by this disaster, but our region should not be defined by it alone.

Of course we need such a place which documents our region's darkest hour for history and tells the stories of our brave and our lost. But for some reason Quake City feels more like a tourism venture.

We are a week away from the second anniversary of the 2011 quake. Thinking about it has brought back all sorts of memories.

I don't know how to feel about this anniversary. Part of me is numb that it's been two years, TWO YEARS. How can it have been two years?

I still think about it often; not in a morbid, obsessive dwelling way. There are just constant reminders, particularly when you work in the red zone surrounded by constant demolition.

You can't avoid the elephant in your living room, as they say.

Call me a cynic, but I'm steeling myself for the memorial coverage - the practised solemn face of an Auckland newsreader intoning ''the tragic event left scores of people dead and many homeless, and two years on from the event many are still grappling with broken homes and [pause for effect] broken lives".

They will then show minutes of shaky-cam. It'll be of the damage from the 7.1 in 2010 and they'll tell us it's the 6.3 from 2011, and we'll sit in our lounges watching and thinking, 'They just don't understand'.

Some might say Quake City has opened just in time to cash in on next week's quake porn.

Quake porn is nothing new.
 
In 2008, after a 7.9 quake struck Sichuan, killing almost 90,000 people and leaving 4.8 million people homeless, Chinese magazine New Travel Weekly, on the first of three days of national mourning, ran photographs of models in bikins posing on the rubble.

Yes, these models were wearing bikini tops and shorty shorts and were covered in fake blood and did a photoshoot standing on top of the rubble of buildings where people had died.

Most recently, as New York City grappled with superstorm Sandy late last year, a Brazilian model used the disaster as an opportunity for a photo shoot.

Nana Gouvea posed on top of mangled and crushed cars, surrounded by fallen trees and debris-covered streets post hurricane. She put the photos on her Facebook page and quickly became an object of derision - check out the Tumblr Nana Gouvea em desastres - which includes the model photoshopped into images of major world disasters. It's hard to laugh in the face of disaster, but Nana helps.

Disturbingly, a quick Google search today reveals one American website devoted to listing the latest trends describing ''glamorous disaster scene shoots'' as the next big thing in fashion.

If you're visiting Quake City and going to check out Quake City while you're here at least you will know that we haven't taken sexy pictures of scantily clad models on top of our rubble.

We draw the line at that. Oh, and we also draw the line at recreating the shaking of the quake for you ... inside the Quake City "attraction'' anyway.

Are you going to go to Quake City? Will you pay $10 to see liquefaction again?

*This blog is NSFW if you aren't supposed to look at words about explicit earthquake tourism.

- © Fairfax NZ News

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content