S.O. cross-post: Upcycling with words

Posted by Rob Walker on December 29, 2009
Posted Under: Things/Thinking

[ NOTE: This is a retroactive cross-post from SignificantObjects.com. That is to say, I wrote it for that site, with a view to making a point about how our project is a form of upcycling — but because it’s done with words, not by physically altering low-value objects, we get no “green” cred from the people who are in charge of doling out said cred. I partly made the point by noting that art that involved destroying (presumably unwanted) books gets props by converting these vessels for words into raw material; meanwhile, actual words don’t get the same respect. That was sort of my point, anyway. Since then, since I’ve been doing the books: the idea series, and this stuff relates to it, I’ve retroactively ported a cross-post over here, giving it the same date that it appeared on S.O. I hope that’s okay! ]

By Brian Dettmer

By Brian Dettmer

Significant Objects has many obvious virtues — but is it eco-friendly, too?

In the early days of trying to drum up traffic, I brought our project to the attention of several eco-blog types. Why? Because we figured that in converting near-worthless thrift-store junk into valuable and meaningful objects, our project was in effect upcycling with words.

By Jacqueline Rush Lee

By Jacqueline Rush Lee

I guess I did a bad job making this case, because none of the eco-bloggers bit, and it beats me why that is. Okay, so we’re not converting metric tons of spent plastic water bottles into hip t-shirts or somesuch. But surely if a sculptor incorporated some of the very same doodads you’re used to seeing on this site into a physical work of art and displayed it in a gallery, anybody would recognize that action as redeeming a bit of borderline junk with no particular use-value. Aren’t our writers doing the same?

Probably as a result of this I’ve been interested lately in examples of upcycled art and design that uses one specific form of object as its base material: the book.

By Jim Rosenau

By Jim Rosenau

This rather astounding roundup at Dark Roasted Blend (which I used to find the images for this post; click on any picture to go to the artist’s site) will provide you every example you need of books converted into pure objects; whatever words they contain hardly matter.

But I’m not here to rattle on about the special-ness of physical books and whatnot, as there are plenty of people around doing that already. And besides, a lot of these book-repurposings are pretty cool. I respect the artistry and craft involved. Speaking of artistry and craft, what I am here to do is say it loud and proud: The writers who’ve been participating in the Significant Objects project are also deploying their artistry and craft in a way that redeems borderline junk with no particular use-value. Let’s face it, much of our inventory was acquired when it was a step away from landfill. And piece by piece it’s been converted into a series of conversation-starting keepsakes, displayed proudly in homes from coast to coast.

By Su Blackwell

By Su Blackwell

Would it be awesome if the many advocates of repurposing quotidian objects into art objects would recognize that this is precisely what we’re up to over here, and give us a public high-five? Yes it would. But meanwhile: Here is yet another rationale to bid: Yes, Significant Objects is eco-friendly!

By Mike Stilkey

By Mike Stilkey

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page. Tags: ,

Reader Comments

Trackbacks

Add a Comment

please
required, will not be published
optional

Previous Post: