Art as Trash Can

Art as Trash Can

Postby brody » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:09 pm

(reposted from Tribe, sorry if you get a duplicate)
I wonder if we can open up a discussion about possible solutions to people using art as a trash can. In another thread, someone brought up the idea that people would use a box that's part of my art piece as a trash can, and I said the following (reposted here to start discussion):

"It's unfortunate, but I realize at this point that ANY art brought out to Burning Man basically just becomes a trash can. Bringing art out to the playa means that artists end up as a janitorial service as well. I'm not going to let disgusting assholes leaving trash dissuade me from making art, however... I just realize I'll have to police it every day and clean up all the trash left behind....
It's a huge bummer that artists have to end up as janitors after bringing art as a gift to the community, but it's the reality of Burning Man at this point."

Can you think of any solutions to this? Creating art that doesn't have nooks & crannies for trash doesn't work, because people will still just prop stuff on it, tuck stuff underneath it/inside it/around it/whatever. Making art trash-proof isn't the solution....but how can we help reduce the amount of trash left on art?

Education? Big signs that say "my art is not a trash can"? Cattle prods and night-vision goggles?
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Postby Mister Jellyfish Mister » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:54 pm

I hear you, Brody. It can be distressing to pour so much love into your work and hope to receive love in return though the tangible artifacts suggest something quite beastly. I actually caught somebody tagging my art with a big sharpie once and got to drag him through a dialog about it in front of his friends.

I think most of the trash is left at night. Conversations, art cars, and even flaming distractions combined with varying degrees of intoxication can cause even the best intentions to fall shallow and alas, the cup is left behind.

I think there is something on the back of everybody's ticket that commits them to an hour or two of mooping. If you befriend anybody who is camped near your piece that admires your work, why not empower them into doing their mooping at your installation? That way, they get to clean something they love and you both win.

When I installed the piece called Zsu Zsu, I would moop in a French Maid dress, just to keep it fun so I would not curse the invisibles that littered there. Try to imagine the profound conversations, ah-ha moments and sweet embraces that took place just as the dying glow stick fell to the ground and know that you and your art inspired that. Mooping is noble work indeed, as many a sage is born again a begger.

Lastly, our environment is dirty, and far from the white walls of the sterile museums. If I build a flat surface at table height I know I'm asking for it and I prepare myself for the worst. Campaigning against moop is like asking bees to stop pollinating. I do the best I can, and watch my own gear so my camp is not blowing away while I pick up somebody else's gum wrapper.
Art cred: Georgie Boy 2011: www.mutantvehicle.com/georgie_boy.htm ; Ein Hammer 2010; Fluffer 2009; Zsu Zsu 2008; U-Me 2007; Mantis 2006; MiniMan and Pikes Of Paranoia 2005; Time Machine Mutant Vehicle 2004. www.MutantVehicle.com
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Postby Fire_Moose » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:06 am

It's not just artists, camps deal with this too.

But as a custodian, it's time you artists pick a couple things up for a week :P
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:31 am

Early on, I had a gift rack before I had the Home for Wayward Art. It quickly became a trash receptacle after Thursday. The gifts of half-consumed packets of food bothered me most. I understood someone wanted to leave a gift, but really? Half a dusty pack of weird crackers?

My campmates kept putting their macncheez cup o noodles on the rack, a couple a day. It was driving me crazy, which amused them greatly. Basterds!!!!! LOL.

When I had Bucky placed out on the playa, people peed in his enclosure, although I found little in the way of trash. I guess peeing in a fenced area made sense, no one would step in it. Except me.

Even the Home attracts trash, at the end of the event, people try to fob off shredded costumes and wigs, or bulky art projects they do not want to haul away. One year I got a helmet decorated with rice krispies and mentos; just what no one wanted. And the largish sculpture made of straws and such, pretty nifty, but big and ugly. We had a destroying party for that one.

And yes, the tiny table ends up with beer bottles and the bag to hold clips gets trash in it. The condom was ookiest of all. Much better now that I rope off the Home at night. Most people obey the artificial barriers through convention.
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Postby ygmir » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:36 am

yeah, I got some trash in the "money bucket" as well.........interesing, that, people look at a bucket of money and throw a candy wrapper in it......

silly humans........
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