Wednesday, July 15, 2009

trash or treasure

on my daily trip to the coffee shop this morning, i spied a 'new york times' which featured an article about a new installation at new york's museum of modern art, titled 'waste not' by beijing artist song dong. the installation is made entirely of objects that belonged dong's mother, a chinese native who passed away early this year.
the title 'waste not' describes the mind-set of older generations- in this case, during the 'cultural revolution' in china in the 1960's and 70's. to survive, people began to keep everything they owned, even items that another may perceive to be of little or no value. the installation features dong's mother's actual house and it's various contents including empty bottles, plastic tubs, stacks of papers and magazines; everyday items like shoes, utensils, and toothpaste; and many, many other keepsakes, necessities, and used objects.

all objects were artfully arranged by dong, his sister, and wife to form a cityscape of belongings amassed over a 50 year period. i would be very interested to see this exhibit, not only because i'm curious to see what a chinese woman might have collected over a lifetime {as opposed to how the average american lives} but also because my own grandmother- a native german that survived WWII- believed in principle of 'waste not' in her own way. when she passed a few years ago, my sibilings and i helped my mother sort through her things and were amazed at some of the objects she chose to keep. they may have seemed like trash to us, but my mom explained that oma {grandma in german} was proud to have been able to own so many things because she knew what it was like to have nothing.
i suppose any object can be a treasure. if it's valued enough.
photos via art-ba-ba

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous arrangements. My grandmother always says that before the eco-movement of today she was reusing everything! "Haste makes waste" is one of her favourite sayings, and I have to say, I like it too.