Recycling Strategies

Photo: Sašo Sedlaček

From LJU COSINUS BRX gallery in the building of European Commision in Bruxeles, Belgium

Recycling strategies, 2007

Production: Gallery Kapelica, Ljubljana, Slovenia, LJU COSINUS BRX gallery, Bruxeles, Belgium

Recycling Strategies is the title of a series of five projects over the past four years which deal with ecology, recycling, the reuse and abuse of trash, leftovers and redundant, outdated material. The projects topicalize the growing problem of the inundation of our environment with trash and interpret from various angles the possibilities offered by trash as a raw material and artist’s form of expression.
Five lighted panels which present the projects, products and intermediate products made of trash offer an alternative view of raw material, which transpires in the project as being material with a tactical value and charge that exceeds the boundary of the utopian. These projects evoke the artist’s sensibility for the suppressed consequences of consumer society, the adverse effects of myths of progress and the self-realisation that planetary resources are limited. Even though Sedlaček’s projects seem like instructions for the recycling of the leftovers of Western civilisation – with which the Third World could plug the gaps in its desire to attune itself to the rhythm of the Western world – they are actually a scathing critique and highlights of the cracks of the morals of modern economic logic, designed as a reflection on Western rationalist totalitarianism.
The projects mostly involve the use of waste material which can be found in a typical household, materials that are still useful but which have been superseded by new products on the market. Most products are outdated the moment they are purchased. Temporary use is calculated in the quick depreciation of value, but it is not accounted for in the potential renewability and recycling. The world is suffocating in trash, noise and erosion, yet the solution to these burning issues is relegated to the background. The more trash is hidden to the eye the more its concealment is telling. On Earth we are still pointing fingers at the problems, but holes in the ozone layer and trash left behind by space missions are completely different. This is exactly what Sedlaček’s latest project is aiming at. It is a project with tactical value, as it will usher into the field of artistic interpretation practical data on orbiting material which artists will be able to use for their projects. Henceforth the phenomenon will again be a matter for the public that has a long-term interest in the Planet.
In Sedlaček’s work, trash is a field of social struggle, where global economic and political positions escalate and practical issues of ecology take on an extraordinary symbolic potential, disclosing lies about socio-economic priorities. High technology is losing its privileged position and its elitism is no longer untouchable. Science is demystified and procedures, tools and know-how become artist’s legitimate choice. Artistic practice has long ago ceased being decoration and entertainment. It is a precise decoding of rules that define us every day in the machinery of capitalist mechanics, it is the production of values that unveils in the morals of these mechanics holes through which it is possible to see, in a purely artistic way, the fabricated and manipulated depiction of social ties that we perceive in our lives as an undialecticalized given, a once-and-for-all.