Friday, May 18, 2012

Elsewhere: a biome of junk

On the surface it looks like a hyperexaggerated junk shop, and that's what it was until 1997, when the hoarder/owner died and something had to be done. Instead of throwing away all of the unsold knicknacks, fabrics, and debris, they decided to make an art collective.

On the advice of Aliya, who was an artist in residency in the space, we checked it out on the way through Greensboro. It's right downtown, on a cute street of gentry and whimsy, surrounded by still-operating antique shops and art galleries of varying degrees of safeness. It could have been just another monument to the story-less lives of cute collectors objects and broken tools, the things that didn't sell, except for one important rule:

Nothing goes in, and nothing goes out. Resident artists can embark on any project or performance based off of the materials in the place, but their tools are limited to what was already in the 2-3 story shop at the moment of the owner's demise in 1997. This creates a false economy of useful objects and a false surplus of others: what does one do, for example, with hundreds of nails, no hammer, and a soldering iron? Or hundreds of dresses and 2 mannequins. The space is both constraining in its rules and limitless.

Collectively, the workers, interns, and residents have developed a knack for aesthetic organization; fabrics and machine parts and other groupings will be made along inscrutable organizational guidelines, a little bit functional, a little bit material. The space is fairy-like and surreal, begging to cameo as a set in an animation series.

The collective acts as a museum (admission: $1), accepts artists in residents, and has a variety of classes to share its collection with the community.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

OH MAN these are beautiful!

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