Recology AIR Program Statement
In many communities, the daily routine of using and sorting our recycling has become a regular part of household life. Yet the origin and future of these materials is far more complex then we realize. Once used and disposed of, these items start a new journey: as commodity material, landfill or decomposition.
As an Artist-In Residence in the Recology recycling facility (‘the MRF’), I had the opportunity to divert some of these items away from their inevitable future, to reimagine and re-contextualize their next life.
I have focused my scavenging on single-use items, items that have little or no repurposing value. Drawing attention to their ubiquity, I am questioning their necessity – for better or worse – and looking for their possibility. In the massive sorting operation of The MRF, my culling is at times random and instinctual – a response to color, form, or a gestural quality of material. Eventually, my picking shifts and specific items become desirable and precious. Back in my studio, these items and materials commingle and begin a new relationship to each other. Through my work, new and unexpected meaning unfolds.
Maria Phillips is an artist and educator based in Seattle, Washington.