Recycled to the Third Power: Sustainability, Cultural Heritage, Preservation
International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts Athens, Greece 2016
Abstract:Recycled to the Third Power was a site-specific installation in a juried art competition. It addressed sustainability, cultural heritage and archeological preservation.
Lids from recycled recycling bins were fitted with industrial tubing, invoking comparisons to architectural environments. Lid openings featured back-lit images of surfaces and places that in some instances were salvaged and in others, defaced.
Recycled bottles surrounded and linked the lids and were filled with rainbow-colored water suggesting environmental hope. The rainbow sequence was broken randomly suggesting the vulnerability of that hope.
This installation sprang in part from a trip to a landfill where glass fragments broke back through ground surfaces in brilliant rebirths. Recycling comparisons were obvious. Canvas prints of the landfill spread across the base of the installation.
The installation’s back wall featured a three-part photo-montage of back-lit images gathered from landfills and historic and contemporary urban areas in need of conservation, preservation, or renovation. Images suggested ways to salvage, recycle, repurpose and reuse objects. Pictures of votive candles along the top suggested a call for mercy.
Arbitrarily selected slides from an antiquated art history collection separated the modules of the montage panel. The slides were placed in the Fibonacci sequence suggesting that recycling can move us towards a more perfect balance as the sequence moves ever closer to the Golden Mean.
This installation was meant to raise questions. Is graffiti a criminal act or is it a form of cultural heritage? How do you distinguish between graffiti as art or as vandalism? How do protecting historic landmarks and artifacts contribute to sustainability of resources and of social heritage?
Although the apparent mood of this installation is festive, there is a dark side: an eclipsed Moon is placed in a swath across the back wall, serving as a warning of the potential future for the Earth.
Keywords: Installation art, digital imaging, cyber simulation