Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday-Sunday: 11:00-19:00
Jennifer Nelson has been collecting her family’s packaging and material waste for a year. The resulting volume and mass of this procedure is well beyond the artist’s body size and weight. From May to September, Nelson will be sculpting this discarded material into forms that can be worn on the body, with the goal being for her to be able to carry it. In this way the process directly compares an individual’s material waste to the individual’s bodily scale. How much trash did I produce? It is also a form of accountability–to literally shoulder the burden of the consequences of our way of life.
To do this, Nelson reassesses the materials we use daily, thoughtlessly and only once–reclaiming their material and energetic value. Rather than being in denial about the trash, disguising or ignoring it as we do as a society, Waste (Inheritance) is a process open to the public. Visitors are welcome to enter a temporary studio within the Project Room to examine and craft with these materials, or simply to sit and discuss. Within this practice, the artist will be studying the lifecycles of these materials. A sheet of clingwrap, for instance, has an origin, a production-based energy cost and waste products of its own. It also has an environmental legacy, the costs of which are usually left to be reckoned with in the future. Nelson argues that these materials are a collective sculpture that can only be judged when we look at the implications of the material across its full lifecycle.
The Project Room will also host a small reading room with articles and books that track the origins and effects for a variety of materials to share with the public. Experts from different fields are invited to analyse the materials from their disciplinary frames of valuing. How does the archaeologist interpret the mass vs someone from waste management? What does it mean for an economist or a grief counsellor? Nelson invites us to look at this material anew utilizing a holistic perspective or our multiple intelligences. After all, this cumulative mass, this trash is the inheritance we leave for the future.
Jennifer Nelson, Waste (Inheritance). Photograph: Anna Primou