Archive for December 30th, 2006


Saturday, December 30th, 2006

this image is creative commons.

Due to diminishing ressources recycling will get more and more important. Germany’s system of collecting waste, which includes the well-known “Gruener Punkt” is in principle a step in the right direction, however it could be improved if there would be an overall paradigm change in western waste societies to look at waste as something which could be creatively turned into something useful rather than leaving it as dead trash.

But to communicate this is not easy.

Art is – among others – used to make people to look at things in a different way. Besides e.g. Duchamps famous ready mades and other art museum works I think e.g. also some Folk art could be seen as an avantgarde of eco-art — and not just only because of its property of recycling “waste” materials. It is also its particular view onto the involved materials and subjects which is important.

Something like over 20 years ago there was a big story in the german magazine stern (I think it was stern, I can’t find the article right now) about Franz Gsellmanns Weltmaschine, which spured my interest in this art form and especially in what raw vision called visionary environments including the already mentioned Weltmaschine or e.g. Nek Chand – Figures from the Rock Garden, Chandigarh; the famous Palais Ideal or the Californian Watts Towers. (Raw Vision doesn’t list sofar Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village located in Simi Valley, California. May be because it got severely damaged in the last earth quake)

Anyways, California and especially Southern California has may be a special interest in recycling waste for geological reasons. May be it is because Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains are recycling themselves, or in other words the mountains “in their state of tectonic youth, are rising as rapidly as any range on earth… Shedding, spalling, self-destructing, they are disintegrating at a rate that is also among the fastest in the world.” according to John McPhee’s essay “Los Angeles Against the Mountains” in his book “The control of nature” . The architectural implications of that are indicated in this nice review on bldg blog.

I know it is exagerated to call California just by the above examples a hotspot for ecological and environmental influenced art. On the other hand: how many examples would one need so that it would become an arthistorical fact ? (see also hypothesis development)

So lets give one more (and more recent..:)) example of an (architectural) eco-art project in Southern California (which funnily wouldn’t be called art brut..:), namely: The recycling and demolition of the Wurms Building by Jason Middlebrook at Riverside Historic Downtown Main Street Mall.

From Jason Middlebrooks Statement:

“Over the course of a two week period I will gut the Wurms building of all it’s raw and reusable materials. Each day demolition and incisions will occur and material will be removed which will than be designed and built into furniture. During the two week process the furniture and objects will be displayed on the site. My goal is to save and reuse as much of the building as possible. I will approach the building in a radical matter, cutting, exposing and dividing. The name of the project, LIVE BUILDING will be cut in gigantic letters into the parking lot side. The end objective is to reduce the amount of debris that will eventually go into a land fill. The usable parts of the building create new objects that contribute to people’s lives.”

From Pat O’brians press enterprise report reflecting the opinion of authorities:

The notion of the Culver Center was to bring interesting, provocative, challenging arts, performance, theater, music to Riverside,” said Jonathan Green, director of UCR/CMP. “Rather than just bulldoze the building, we’re using this an opportunity to show that artists can be involved in a range of projects, not just hangings on the wall.