Here, I want to acknowledge the paper and packaging based things collected in Amsterdam that will make up a book, page-work or fancy ‘something or other’ in the coming weeks.
I identify a process of collecting, archiving and arranging as a way of making artworks with everyday life stuffs; habitually saving paper bags, food packaging, plastic food bags, fancy chocolate foils and cat food wrappers. These are ‘composted’ in boxes at home for sorting through to gather into potential sequences. This process of collecting, collating and transforming is also an active way of analysing artefacts.
Cat Food Boxes/Chocolate
Thinking back to the wonderful postcards made from cat food boxes, cardboard chocolate wrappers and other paper waste that fill the racks at Boekie Woekie, there are similarities here with my page works. I’m reassured to discover that others share compatible dilemmas when faced with disposal of cat food packaging presenting airbrushed cats eating lunch.
Dreamies Pack Attack
Last week we stood outside Tescos waiting for the freestanding digital advertisement signage screen to show the Dreamies Pack Attack poster. The bright poster simply depicts a single packet of ramshackle Dreamies having been ravaged by a cat. There is no cat in the picture but anyone who understands how cats go crazy for Dreamies will understand the joke. The packet sits simply and satisfyingly on a white background. It’s a great piece of design and we watched it over and over again.
It’s compelling and comforting to read that Dieter Roth spent time sitting in Boekie Woekie. Much work of Roth populates the store with a satisfying silly-ness that motivates me to make more stuff. Frequently, I return to the 1975 essay Offhand Design – a brilliant manifesto and provocation for a kind of ‘undesign’ that questions compromising situations designers face when designing messages they don’t agree with. I loved browsing the ring-bound, plastic wallet archive at Fruitmarket Gallery’s reconfigured Dieter Roth Diaries show at Camden Arts Centre in 2013 – banana skin, napkins and crisp packets, I remember this assorted debris clearly. It’s good to be making connections between influences through this visit.
Today, at home, I’ve spent some time taking pictures with my phone of all the stuff collected from Amsterdam. I suppose this is a form of digital filing and bookmarking. It shares a similar sense of screening and framing that placing banana skins in plastic wallets implies – a kind of vitrine? :
Writing this post, has allowed some reflection on materials and processes of my work and is motivating me to begin a new phase of making with a better understanding of contexts of distribution. Visiting stores in person was one focus when applying for this bursary. Works certainly need to be handled, spaces explored and its easy to say hello and ask questions face to face.
Depodog, polystyrene pizza base, Police Academy 3: Back in Training.
Finally, I chose the selection of images shared with this post for their interesting shapes, seemingly silly narratives of use, colour and fluctuating details – fluted edging; a circle; funny dog graphic; poop related stories; bright red; pale primrose yellow; elaborate handwriting in blue and red biro; analogue filing paraphernalia; an oblong and a pedantically titled popular film.
I’ve also typed in a recipe below for Red Cabbage Salad which was forgotten and then found in my notebook; jotted down from a Dutch recipe book from the kitchen of the apartment where I stayed. This was where I built a cardboard fruit box library of papers, wrappers, books and an assortment of paper bags and plastic sacks.
Red Cabbage Salad
400g finely sliced red cabbage
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large salad bowl, mix cabbage with onion. In a small bowl mix oil with mayonnaise, mustard, caraway seeds, lemon juice. Mix with cabbage. Stand for 2 hours. Garnish with walnuts before serving.