Do you remember the Horti Hall?
Before Eve Armstrong gathers memories of the Horti Hall as part of Collective Pursuits—Horticultural Hall Activity, we asked her a few questions to get to know her and her work a little better.
What drew you to the Horti Hall?
I’ve been quietly mulling over ideas for a project about the Horticultural Hall for 5 years or more. I’ve long been intrigued by the varied range of activities held in the hall– flower shows, crystal shows, custom van shows. I have often imagined the displays. I’m also interested in the hall’s function as a community space – how it helped many people with shared interests get together to make something happen collectively.
Around 2012 I learned about the Dowse’s ongoing relationship with the hall as they have been managing the bookings for the few past years. It seemed curious to me that a gallery would be involved in this kind of activity outside of their own building, and that connection cemented my interest in working on a project related to the hall.
What are your own memories of the Hall?
The Horticultural Hall always makes me think of my Nana and her involvement in floral art in the Hutt Valley over many decades. Some of the groups she attended used the hall and her fuchsia club sometimes had a stand at the Horticultural Society’s Summer Show. I would often hear about the events and see her entries from floral art shows.
I went to high school in Lower Hutt so the hall was part of my teenage years for school events like performances or sport.
The Horti Hall feels like a place I’ve always known.
What will you do with all this information?
There will be multiple elements to the project Collective Pursuits. One key part will include an archive of activities held in the hall.
I want to bring the many activities that happened in the hall together – hold them up and see what they look like; how community interests have changed or continued over time. The information I glean will also lead to photographic and sculptural works, and possibly an event or series of events.
Who do you want to talk to?
I am eager to hear from people who have been involved in or attended an activity or event at the Horticultural Hall. I would like the archive to include as many activities as possible from ongoing activities like sports practices to one-off events like a wedding. It was a well-known and well-used venue for over 50 years so I’m anticipating many memories associated with the hall.
Wellington-based artist Eve Armstrong describes her art practice as the process of making 'adaptable support structures'. These support structures may be object based such as stacks of cardboard propping up bulging rubbish bags, or they can be social such as an exchange of ideas and skills.