Taxonomy of Trash

Exhibit Dates: 
Apr 6, 2013 - Jul 21, 2013
Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space

Invited as an artist-in-residence at Revolution Recovery, a Philadelphia recycling company, Tim Eads in turn invited a team of a sound engineer, videographer, photographer, and biologist to help him analyze the aesthetic potential of trash. All accomplished in their respective fields, the collaborators present us with a mystifyingly professional and creatively nebulous endeavor that is at once a hybrid form of art, connoisseurship, scientific research, audio-visual documentation, readymade sculpture, and performance that underscores much of today’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to artistic practice. From Revolution Recovery’s inventory, the team selected objects of visual interest, recorded the sounds the objects made when activated as ersatz instruments, and photographed and categorized them in a phylogenetic tree chart. At the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, all of these inventive examinations and permutations of art and trash are on display. In addition to the sensory connection to trash that the visitor experiences in the gallery, Eads supplements the Taxonomy exhibition with a kinetic sculpture called the “Mobile Trash Lab.” This photography studio/garbage bike on wheels travels to litter-strewn locations and enables the driver or citizens off the street to select ubiquitous city trash, and have it “taxonomized” on the spot, free of charge. Displayed alongside audio-visual recordings of garbage gleaned from this geographic region and exhibited in proximity to a chart categorizing these biodegradable and non-biodegradable items, the DCCA visitor is invited to view both an objective and ethical analysis of what we throw away. 

- Maiza Hixson
Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art