The Final Exchange.

A look into Mark Antony's Artist in Residence.

Mark Antony's artist in residency has officially come to an end. Last Friday Mark presented his work and learnings in front of friends, family and Dojo residents at BizDojo Market Lane, the building the foundations of his project are based upon. Over the course of nine weeks, Mark interpreted and interrupted the memories of individuals who have had a connection with the John Chambers Building.

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Marks artist in residency started as soon as the doors first opened at BizDojo Market Lane, Mark spent Thursday afternoons between the social and active workstations working alongside the growing BizDojo community.  We caught up with Mark after the presentation and chatted about what he had uncovered, what he had learned and what's next for the project. 

Tell us where the idea for the Lost Futures of Exchange came about?

The Lost Futures Exchange is a project I am running through 2018 to gather stories, dreams, and remembrances of places in the central area of Wellington. This is an evolution of the Ghosting About project I did for my masters’ study at Massey University. 

My initial idea was to be based out of an old shop somewhere on Cuba Steet. My intentions were to get a wide range of people to come through and share their personal stories and memories of the space. I successfully pitched the idea to the Urban Dream Brokerage and they set me up with a mentor, Leo Jean Peters. 

During the initial development stages and conversations with UDB and Leo, the project flipped 180 degrees with me going into a newly established space and having an internal audience. That being the John Chambers building the new home to the BizDojo and their community. 

What do memories mean to you and your work? 

For me, memory has a disruptive influence on the architecture and spaces we occupy. I use the term ‘ghosting’ as my framework to look through windows, peer into the past and imagine the future that never was. My interpretation of ghosting means I am here now but reacting to the contexts of my memories. For example, I see signs for places that no longer exist, recall other usages of spaces, different road layouts, and people I talked to that are no longer here.

What challenges did you face during the project? 

The process I took for the Lost Futures Exchange was problematic in a good sense. I put myself in an uncomfortable situation and had to learn how to push past my comfort zone. Talking to people, starting conversations and trying to get something personal from them, a story, a dream, a remembrance was one of the hardest parts of a project I have ever had to do! I found that the method of working was great for generating ideas and finding out others perspectives and as a result, it has grown my confidence as a creative. 

A timeline of events uncovered by Mark.

Early 1900’s. The building was constructed in 1918 for John Chambers and Son, an engineering firm. Preparatory work on the site had begun in 1915 when a permit was issued for the construction of the foundations. The Wellington building was intended to be a warehouse, workshop, and offices and the construction of what is essentially an industrial building on the periphery of Wellington’s commercial zone was a statement of considerable confidence on behalf of the business. The ultimate fortunes of the company are not known, but they remained in the building (at least partially) until the early 1940s.

Mid 1900’s. The building suffered earthquake damage and had to be repaired by 1943. Air New Zealand had offices and a cargo store in this building from 1966.

Late 1900’s. The space was outfitted with offices for the NZ film commission in 1993. In 1995 Rialto cinemas took space on the ground floor and had 3 cinemas constructed.

2000’s. At the beginning of 2009 Rialto cinemas closed for the construction of a hotel and apartments that never happened. Xero entered into a nine-year lease in April 2012 with BizDojo taking over the lease in late 2017. 

The Final Exchange, what's next for the project?

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Mark has left the model behind after his residency and invites all who come through the space to add their futures, lost futures, and pasts by physically drawing and writing on the model itself.