The Earthquake in Chile

Richard Gough (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


The Earthquake in Chile was a large-scale, site-specific performance engaging professional theatre makers, amateurs, community activists and chefs in a series of edible and participatory installations responding to the experiences and trauma of civic disruption generated by the earthquakes of Christchurch, New Zealand. It was commissioned by the The Body Festival -an international arts festival - and was realized through the Free Theatre of Christchurch with the collaboration of other community and professional arts organizations (Te Puna, Gap Fillers, A Different Light). It was enabled by Gough being a UC Christchurch Visiting Fellow and was structured as part of the professional engagement of the UC Erskine Fellowship programme., For over 25 years Gough has explored the interface between food and performance and advanced ‘food & performance’ as a disciplinary area (and an artistic, practice-led research) through conferences, publications, gallery installations and theatre productions around the world. Projects have utilized food and performance to encourage healthy eating for the young, to stimulate sensorial appetite for the elderly, to celebrate a town’s artisanal produce, to evoke memory and consider ‘last suppers’ – the challenge in this commission was to explore how food and performance might respond to catastrophe and enable local people to recover, to generate work in response to recent experience and participate in healing process of recall and renewal., The production enabled further research into the role of the audience; participatory, immersive, peripatetic – it advanced the co-productive/co-creative role of the audience, radically reconsidering notions of audience participation and autopoiesis. It also reached back to explore ‘old’ notions of catharsis, healing and repair through audiences speaking openly and sharing memories of the Christchurch earthquakes., A film by New Zealand’s foremost art documentary maker is in production and Gough conducted a 50-minute interview on NZ National Radio prime arts programme about the process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
EventThe Body Festival at the Christchurch Arts Festival 2011 - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 1 Sept 20111 Oct 2011


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