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Eerie coincidence to occur in Disaster Week

7 October 2008
Eerie coincidence to occur in Disaster Awareness Week
Inner-city residents and workers will likely think Wellington City Council’s testing of its new tsunami and civil defence equipment is a mixed bag of old and new. On the evening of 8 October, a helicopter decked out in loudspeakers will test out the new siren and messaging system on the central city and coastal areas from 6-7pm.
Coincidentally on the following day, warning devices of a more antiquated nature will be heard in the CBD during the latest instalment of the One Day Sculpture series, Amy Howden-Chapman’s The Flood, My Chanting commissioned by City Gallery Wellington.
Wellington artist Amy Howden-Chapman didn’t time the event specifically to coincide with Disaster Awareness Week.
“It’s just a total coincidence, but it’s exciting. It’s great that people will already be tuned into the issues by the time they come into contact with my work. It’s like a newspaper report one day and then a mix of fact and fairytale the next,” she says.
During the Council’s testing of its new emergency warning mechanisms, Wellingtonians can expect to hear a jarring and shrill sound – the national Civil Defence ‘Sting’ siren – followed by the words:
“This is a test – the next time you hear this siren it could be a real emergency or disaster. Get ready to get through – your local council can help.”
The day after the City Council tests, Amy will pay homage to the out-dated tradition of ringing bells in times of danger in order to raise alarm. The Flood, My Chanting starts at 1pm on Thursday 9 October and, depending on bell ringers’ strength, is likely to last for a few hours.
Amy has borrowed antique maritime bells from the Museum of Wellington and will place them at various points in a circuit curving from the waterfront though the central city and back to the sea. The area that the bells will be placed along corresponds to the part of the central city most under threat from future flooding. The appearance of the bells in the CBD and the performance of them being rung with a more ambiguous warning are intended to be unexpected; an out-of-kilter event for workers and residents in this central city area.
One Day Sculpture is a Massey University College of Creative Arts, School of Fine Arts, Litmus Research Initiative. It is supported by the Council’s Public Art Panel, and presented in partnership with many other art galleries and organisations throughout the country. Wellington will have eight more of these temporary sculptures taking place over the next year. Check out www.onedaysculpture.org.nz for information on the year-long celebration of public art and get out there and enjoy it.
Text ONEDAY to 2343 to sign up for regular One Day Sculpture updates.  It costs 20c to join and updates are free. You can stop the messages at any time.


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