Artists work wonders with waste (Y2K as art) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Something to look forward to, artists surviving beyond 2000. -- Diane Published Monday, November 16, 1998, in the San Jose Mercury News

Artists work wonders with waste Sculpture From Scrap BY LAURIE GIESEN Special to the Mercury News

Artist Paola Berthoin recently headed to the Monterey regional dump -- rather than the art supply store -- to pick out her materials for her sculpture in progress.

So did Michael Duffy. He found street lamps and metal to use. Political artist John Random found mountains of free material, including 13 computers, for his piece entitled Y2K.

Although the materials vary widely, reasons for participating in an unusual art festival do not. The three Central Coast artists are taking part in a festival, whose motto is ``Reuse, Recycle -- It's Art!'' sponsored by the Monterey Regional Waste Management District.

Nine artists were selected for this event and have been working on their pieces since Nov. 2. The winners will be announced Friday. The criteria for judging are that the participants all have to work with materials that are being reused, and that the pieces must be constructed so that they can be exhibited outdoors without disintegrating for at least a year, according to Heidi Feldman, public educator, Monterey Regional Waste Management District.

``The purpose of this project is to make the public and art community aware of the resources we have at the district that can be put to creative use, and recycled into an object of beauty,'' said Feldman. The waste management district, a.k.a. ``the dump,'' wants to use the art to enhance its own appearance by displaying at least two of the winners' pieces outside its offices at the site.

Organizers decided to start this festival to celebrate America Recycles Day, which was observed Sunday nationwide. They also wanted to acknowledge that the waste management district has been named winner of the First Integrated Solid Waste System Excellence Gold Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America.

The artists are supportive of the festival's mission.

``I think it's really important that we bring attention to the recycling of materials. It's a small planet, and we need to take care of it,'' said Duffy, the Carmel sculptor who is creating a piece he describes as a shrine to recyclers.

Random, the Monterey artist, added, ``There is no article that exists that isn't potentially useful as an art material to be taken out of context, cut in half, or welded into something else.''

His Y2K piece includes computers plus rebar, a steel material used to reinforce concrete, wood and wires, all of which he found at the dump.

Random likes big art, and intends for it to say something about the anticipated computer glitch in the year 2000. ``It's a controversial issue that could be of massive proportions,'' said Random, who is putting about 250 hours into his effort.

Berthoin of Carmel Valley calls her art ``Small Planet Garden,'' and is participating because of its educational value. ``I have used hands surrounding the Earth, taking care of it,'' she said. ``This project is also a planting of seeds in people's minds to be thoughtful about what they do.''

Cash prizes of $1,000, $500, and $100 will be given to the top three winners. If Duffy's shrine is chosen, he intends to pay his rent and survive another month, he said.

-- Diane J. Squire (, November 19, 1998


Diane, this sounds WONDERFUL! I do mixed media art work...large canvases with rocks and broken glass and fabric...I have thought more than once since learning about Y2K that, "at least I will be able to continue as long as I have wood for frame boards...and a LOT of glue..." Laying in a lot of Sobo and Super Tacky

-- Donna Barthuley (, November 19, 1998.

A number of years ago, some friends and I who owned a computer sales/ repair shop saved up a bunch of dead computer parts and packing materials. Another friend was opening a small club, and we took all of our "junk" an designed a wild environment!

Over the years I've made jewelry from old RAM and Disk Drives, displays of various sorts using stripped computers and monitors (including where I work now, running a Director piece) and sculptures from packing materials. I'm about to design a "meal" on a plate; chips, wires, disks, etc. with a wineglass full of motor oil to wash it down. This will go in our "Recontextualization Booth." And I'm not even one of the artists around here, I'm the techie.

Dead technology makes great visual art. I've always thought that circuit boards look like miniature cities...

-- pshannon (, November 19, 1998.

Y2k art: "I crucify the bodies of the looters I shoot. It's a nice deterrent, and from my porch at sunset they make a nice silhouette."

"I prefer just to leave them hanging on the barbed wire. These shotgun shells really bring out their natural redness, you know."

"And my sign "Trespassers Shot On Sight" is written in this nice jagged handwriting. I did that course in calligraphy, after all."

Or is it more, "PANIC!"

"No, too crude. How about `We're all going to die!!'?"

"Too specific. We need to focus on a wide RANGE of disasters, not all of them lethal. A cut in government arts funding, for instance. Art should be versatile -how about `EARTHQUAKE!!!'"

"I've composed three symphonies and my crowning achievement, this new alarm tone. It sends subliminal messages to your brain telling you to forget emergency procedure and run like hell."


-- Leo (, November 20, 1998.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 20, 1998.

Sticking garbage together isn't Art, that idea ran its course years ago, it wasn't much of an idea in the first place.

-- Richard Dale (, November 20, 1998.

To Leo, please converse in some sort of English so that we can all understand.

-- Richard Dale (, November 20, 1998.

Leo, sounds like you're afraid to face your own death.

I suggest while preparing your bunker, you start reading up on NDE Near Death Experiences of others. Lots of books on the subject. Bette Edie (sp?) "Embraced By The Light," books by Dr. Raymond Moody. Might shift your perspective a tad. Maybe not.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 20, 1998.

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