Below is an archive of the making of this project. One year of collected trash and recycling, transformed into a single work of art.
This video by Josh Bradley captures the essence of the project well. Please excuse the preaching.
Finding Away, installed at Bumbershoot 2009 in Seattle, Washington.
One year's worth of trash by Ari Derfel
Art work by Kuros Zahedi
This is the card for the Seattle showing of Finding Away..... It should be an amazing exhibit and will be opening September 4!
On December 29, 2007 only a handful of people knew about Ari Derfel’s project of saving every single piece of trash and recycling he produced for an entire year. On December 30th the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story about it on the cover of their Bay Area section. A few hours later the Associated Press picked it up and by that night a worldwide conversation had begun.
This was shot during Ari's visit - I am working on the 'mural' part of the piece, pictured in an earlier post as a charcoal sketch on the panels. Thank you Josh for another amazing video!
Ladders are an important element in the work. They symbolize the ascent of consciousness to a higher level. The first three images are about the iconography associated with ladders. The other images are of the making of ladders out of Ari's cardboard, white paper, and receipts.
This image is from Robert Fludd's Utriusque cosmi historia, II, 1619, in the tradition of western alchemy. The ladder leads from the world of matter to spirit. Each rung represents a stage of development - see below.
This drawing depicts the seven chakras, with the last represented by the flaming crown of light (much like the sun in the above image).
The ladder is symbolically associated with the caduceus, which is the ladder upon which Hermes/Mercury, messenger of the gods, ascends and descends. The snake glides along the earth, sheds its skin and renews itself and is therefore associated with change, renewal and healing - in the familiar image of the caduceus, above, snakes rise up the rod, representing the transformative life forces of mother earth.
Back in the studio, the cardboard is cut to size and taped together to make the rough skeleton form of the ladder.
Several layers of paper are applied with wheat paste.
After a couple of layers.
Here are some images of the transformation of paper. This batch was mostly junk mail and other shiny paper. Paper is soaked, boiled, blended, strained and mixed with powdered glass and wheat based wallpaper paste. It is then formed.