Paho Mann-Scatter and Heap
Paho Mann’s “North Gateway Transfer Station Project” was commissioned by the City of Phoenix through the Phoenix Office of Art and Culture’s Public Art Program. Mann began this project by photographing a sample of recyclables; he then entered the photographs into a database along with keywords in order to make connections in categories such as recyclables, colors, objects and interactions with objects. Mann then made his prints from image groups generated by the database. The result is stunning, but not in a good way.
All I could think about as I looked at Mann’s exhibit is the incredible amount of waste our society creates by buying all these disposable objects we do not need. There are millions of water bottles, discarded toys and plastic cups. I couldn’t help but thinking about the project from my innovation class for increasing recycling on campus. Recycling doesn’t need to be increased; our society just needs to stop buying all this useless, disposable crap.
Mann’s intention for the work was not to point out the massive amounts of waste, but to highlight popular consumer choices. We as the viewers get to see where our money goes and what that says about us. The only redeeming factor is the print composed of children’s drawing and homework and the fact that our society is still reading newspapers; at least some people are doing something valuable with their time. Mann’s exhibit is a comment on what makes up our culture. We are consumers, and not much else.
Were you attempting to make a point that something good can come out of this mindless consumerism by producing visually beautiful prints out of all these random recyclable items?
Do you think these prints would hold the same power if they weren’t viewed as a collection, but on their own?