FROM JANUARY 8 Premiering at the DUMBO Arts Festival on September 23, 2011, The Dumpster Project is a work of transportable public art. The Dumpster Project is also a daily blog (www.thedumpsterproject.com). Fundamentally, though, The Dumpster Project is a physical taxonomy of one man’s existence.
Mac Premo is a Brooklyn-based collage artist. His longtime Boerum Hill studio was a sanctuary for an assortment of objects accumulated over decades. Included among the hundreds of items are old baseball cards he shared with his dad, the shoes his eldest daughter first walked in, recently extracted wisdom teeth from an eccentric friend, a Persian music mix-tape, and a fortune cookie message that warns him against the pitfalls of relaxation (it reads: ‘You’ve had a good start. Work Harder!’). More than just objects of ephemera, they are participants in Mac’s artistic repertoire that act as both influence and raw material for his body of work. The years of collecting suddenly turned into a process of de-accession when the move to a smaller studio forced Mac to decide on the fate of his objects. The Dumpster Project is the result of this quandary. Faced with the prospect of throwing his stuff away, Mac decided instead that each object was to fulfill its ostensible destiny: it would see life as art. Rather than the dumpster as trash mechanism, Mac has converted a 30-foot long industrial dumpster into an exhibition space where each object is discretely displayed. A visitor to the installation will walk into a modern-day “cabinet of curiosities”, where objects of nostalgia (i.e. a Yankees cap Mac wore through most of the 1990s) have a place beside items culled from international travels (i.e. the curiously named ‘Long Life’ brand of cigarettes from Hong Kong). Each object will be numbered, and a mobile application will enable the viewer to use his or her smart phone to access a eulogy Mac has written for each item, as well as a studio photograph of the object set cleanly against a white background.
In conjunction with the installation, Mac has embarked on the ambitious task of cataloguing each and every item for the project’s dedicated blog, www.thedumpsterproject.com. Each day an entry featuring an item is revealed and includes a photograph of the item taken by Mac, accompanied by a description of its significance along with its dimensions. Through these daily entries, the visitor quickly gains an understanding of Mac’s aesthetic, quirks, sense of humor, love of family, and sense of self.