Material Migrations is an urban jewellery project that explores how objects can mediate our relationship with the urban milieu. The project focuses on the site of Chinatown, approaching it as an ongoing coalescence of materials and bodies over time. It tests ways jewellery practice (making+wearing) can intercept and transform such materials, and release them back into the city in new ways.
Materials are diverted from their usual trajectories (retail to consumption, waste to landfill), then broken down and reassembled in new wearable configurations. These are then fed back into the city by giving them to people to wear. This reciprocal relation between jewellery and the urban environment is informed by the analogy of a saprophyte: an organism that decomposes and processes materials, and feeds them back into its ecosystem.
Participants are invited to wear a brooch in daily life and to notice which aspects of urban environment the work draws attention to. They are asked to take a series of photos of themselves wearing the work in such situations. The photos will be added to a growing video work that documents the dispersal of these works into the city and the emerging relations between wearers, jewellery and the urban milieu.
You can see this accumulating video as part of the Gateway exhibition at the Chinese Museum (April 18 – May 23 2011), and on this blog.
Material Migrations has been developed by Jacqui Chan as part of a practice-based PhD in the School of Art at RMIT University entitled ‘Jewellery in the Urban Milieu: explorations in emergence’.
These are the brooches which have been dispersed back into the city: