Some public art has been ruined by the earthquake: look at poor old Godley and Rolleston. But some has actually become better and more resonant – risen to the occasion, you might say. A prime example sits inconspicuously at the entrance to a suburban driveway on Breezes Road near the settling ponds, in the heart of the hard-hit east.
Ronnie van Hout created this monument to himself back in 2007, as part of a project for the television series New Artland hosted by Chris Knox. About as stripped back and no-frills as a monument gets, it simply marks the fact that Ronnie van Hout, artist, lived in this house from 1962 to 1972. (Thanks to Ronnie's brother Francis for these video stills.)
Ronnie called the project I lived here but I remember him being very emphatic, on the day it was launched, that it wasn't actually about him. The 'I', he insisted, was any person who led a life in this neighbourhood. And three or four years on, that simple assertion carries a sad new weight.
As far as I can tell, Ronnie's old family home has just escaped falling inside a so-called 'orange zone' – one of those tracts of land whose future fate hasn't yet been decided. But in the large red zones to the northwest and southwest where so many houses are to be demolished, thousands of people will soon be saying 'I lived there'.