work / COMMUNITY POLYCHROME PROJECT 2006
Community Polychrome Project 2006
12 panels 33cm x 33cm each
Coloured lids on plywood
Community Polychrome Project is an extension of a series of earlier work from 2004 (see 'Black Street Journals #1, #2 and #3'). The 12 works were constructed using coloured plastic lids from my neighbours recycling bins. Collected over a period of 12 weeks the lids were cleaned and then arranged in random patterns. This project marked an important progression from my standard Journal format which involved a diary-like chronicle of various personal experiences collated together through both collected material and painted form. Many of the individual works within my Journals have strong narrative themes associated with the collected materials used. These include; condoms collected from a nearby ‘lovers lane’, confetti collected from local church weddings, old coloured pencils with family names carved into the ends, discarded family photographs and broken tail light glass from accident sites.
When manipulating found materials, I am often amazed at how this seemingly ordinary stuff can become transformed into exquisite formal compositions that often transend the material itself. At the end of 2005 I set myself a project for the following three months, beginning on the first Friday of 2006 - my local garbage and recycling pick up day. Every Friday at 4am (just prior to council garbage collection), I plotted the exact same route around my neighbourhood, collecting exactly 64 coloured lids from plastic recycling boxes set out on footpaths by my neighbours. The collected lids were washed, dried and then placed inside a bag to be randomly chosen when making the work. I continued to do this for three months until I had constructed a series of 12 works.
After a number of weeks searching through my neighbours recycling bins, in the dark with a torch, collecting lids, I became familiar with their various eating and drinking habits. From the evidence inside their bins I became aware of the number of people that lived in each house, who was eating healthily, who was on a diet, who had children, which were shared houses, who preferred strawberry, chocolate or soy milk (the rare purple lids) and who had drinking problems which was obvious by the number of empty wine and beer bottles that appeared week in and week out. Some bins had the recycling dumped all together in an unclean mess, while other bins were spotless, with the contents carefully stacked in very neat ways - perhaps a reflection of the inhabitants state of mind. It was a fascinating process of documentation. The completed work - Community Polychrome Project - displays all this local data collected and documented together in something resembling a computer print out sheet from the 1950s.