Australian artist Ian Strange’s latest project has given the homes that were left condemned by the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, one last breath of life. For Final Act, Strange transformed dozens of the affected homes into oversized light-based sculptures right in their own neighborhoods. The artist then teamed up with Lord of the Rings cinematographer Alun Bollinger to create a gorgeous film that gives the homes one last shred of dignity before being torn down, currently on display in an exhibition at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.
Strange began seeing the beauty in condemned homes during his first project Suburban, in which the artist transformed foreclosed homes across seven cities in the United States. Final Act picks up where Suburban left off in 2012, addressing the effects of environmental destruction on the idea of “home,” rather than the social effects of financial ruin.
The four homes transformed for the project were in the “red zone” of Avonside, Christchurch, an area formerly used for public housing projects before the earthquake hit in February of 2011, killing 256 locals. Three years since the quake, the homes are deemed uninhabitable and slated for destruction. Strange and his crew reinstated the overgrown homes and lawns, fixed fences and cleaned up yards.
Then the four houses were each transformed into their own sculpture, cutting geometric holes, removing sections and moving pieces apart before adding brilliant lighting to the inside of each. Once lit, the homes were given new life, appearing like beacons of hope instead of symbols of financial dependency and environmental destruction. The installationscaptured on film and in photographs are on display at the Canterbury Museum until March 23, 2014.