Installation (various recycled and found media on reclaimed office shelving, record binder, pen, and paper)
With Exchange Point, I wanted to call attention to our literal economies of consumption by creating a repository of reusable materials. Plastic containers were labeled and filled with objects I gathered, such as old dry pens, plastic bags, small electronics, and other assorted objects; some containers are left empty. Viewers were invited to contribute materials that they think others can re-use for a different purpose, objects that might otherwise be thrown away, and add them to the empty containers. Each time a new material was added, the transaction was logged into a log book. At the same time, any visitor who wanted to take materials out of the containers to re-use could do so by making an entry in the log. By asking the viewer to interact with refuse in a different way, and by making a record of what can be done with it besides throwing it out, I wanted to initiate a conversation about the relationship of a disposable economy to both the environment and to the practice of making art.
Exchange Point was originally installed at NurtureArt gallery in Williamsburg as part of the Demo Eco M.O. exhibition, curated by Linda Weintraub. The exhibition was concerned with the pursuit of environmental responsibility as it relates to the practice of making art. During the exhibition, some visitors simply contributed or removed items from the installation, as per the posted instructions, while others chose to respond to through performance and drawing. It was a pleasant surprise to note that viewers respected and maintained the order of Exchange Point during their interaction with the piece. The log book for Exchange Point became an artwork in its own right, and operates comparably to the an art institution’s records of provenance for artworks. This record demonstrates that material usage is an essential component of practicing art, and calls attention to the impact of human consumption on our fragile ecosystems.
Participants were requested to email information and images revealing how they utilized their materials, which served as content for an accompanying blog. Following its debut at NurtureArt, Exchange Point was installed at the Queens Museum of Art, New York in 2010.