Another of BRAF’s 2009 Grant Recipients:

Benjamin Jones
Brooklyn, NY

Discarded is a wooden creature crafted entirely from furniture discarded on the streets of Brooklyn. The creature stands roughly 30’ long x 7’ wide x 8’ tall at its highest point. Much of the furniture used is kept, as much as possible, in its original (discarded) form, allowing participants to speculate on the origins of each element and the methodology that went into creating the piece.

While the sidewalks of New York City on trash night are a rich resource of useful items and cultural artifacts, most New Yorkers hold pre-conceived fears of tapping into this resource: practical fears of dirt and vermin, and emotional fears based on the societal perception of welcoming discarded items into our homes. The resulting obsession with new purchases saps the world of natural resources, and the ease of shopping versus crafting creates a psychic distance from our belongings that enables us to acquire and discard at will. By refocusing our communities on the process of foraging and creation, we can help transform our society into one that values originality and sustainability rather than purposeless consumption.

Through community gatherings and workshops, the piece will be a collaborative effort, culminating in exhibition at this year’s Figment festival. FIGMENT 2009, held in partnership with the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), is a 3-day participatory arts event on Governors Island in New York Harbor (www.figmentnyc.org). FIGMENT is a project of Action Arts League, and is produced by a coalition of volunteers in partnership with the Pure Project.

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