Trashtastic Tuesday with Kim Holleman

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For those of you, like me, who couldn’t make it to the TRASHNAMI! opening last week, here’s a trashtastic interview with artist Kim Holleman. I’m posting this early because it’s the last trash of the week. Starting tonight I’ll be offline for a whole week, relaxing in rural Minnesota where the word on the river is that cell phones don’t work, not even global Blackberries. So exciting!

everydaytrash: What is a Trashnami? How did you collect the materials for this installation?

Holleman: The TRASHNAMI! is a giant cresting wave of garbage.
For it’s previous incarnation as a FUTURE MOUNTAIN (a 360 degree rendering of a mountain range in garbage bags), I had my “community” of people collect their shopping bags normally and give me the tornado of bags that everyone normally gathers under their kitchen sink. I collected for about 7 months, including my own bags.

For TRASHNAMI!, I actually added in blues and greens that were purchased with money budgeted for the show. I also created stickers for the left over bags and handed them out as freebees.

everydaytrash: How do politics play out in your work?
Holleman: My work is political in that is places a premium on real information about our world and our lives and the true consequences of our lifestyle and culture. I use art to address issues and if not solve them, show them in their true light, so that hopefully, no one can turn away and pretend that how their singular lives are is the truth of the world as it is right now. Just because we are here and temporary unscathed does not mean we are safe, innocent, or unaffected for long. Just ask people in New Orleans. My work is political in that is places a premium on real information about our world and our lives and the true consequences of our lifestyle and culture. I use art to address issues and if not solve them, show them in their true light, so that hopefully, no one can turn away and pretend that how their singular lives are is the truth of the world as it is right now. Just because we are here and temporary unscathed does not mean we are safe, innocent, or unaffected for long. Just ask people in New Orleans.
everydaytrash: The title of your show is dated in the near future and refers to our changing world. That, coupled with the image of a “trashnami” gives the sense of impending doom. Do you see trash as an immediate threat to our way of life?
Holleman: The TRASHNAMI! isn’t a threat to our way of life, it IS our way of life. Make that distinction please. And it is dire and it is a non-negotiable fact. See this, please read about the Pacific Garbage Patch. There are now more particulates of small plankton-sized pieces of plastic in the ocean than plankton at some spots. This is coming from scientists who drag plankton nets and then count and sort particulates under microscopes. The way we handle plastic/petroleum/chemicals/poisons/refuse/trash causes global warming, which causes more extreme weather conditions, hence more earhtquakes, tornado, hurricanes and tsunami. We are doing it. WE are doing it.
Photos kindly provided by Holleman

7 Responses to “Trashtastic Tuesday with Kim Holleman”

  1. Carnival of the Green « everydaytrash Says:

    [...] And here at everydaytrash, Leila talks to Kim Holleman about art, politics and the definition of “TRASHNAMI“. [...]

  2. Amy Says:

    Forgive my ignorance of her body of work, I came upon these pictures during a search for images of the Great Pacific Garbage Island. However, in my brief review of her installation art, I was stopped in my tracks by her comments on how she created the wave of plastic bags: “For TRASHNAMI!, I actually added in blues and greens that were purchased with money budgeted for the show. I also created stickers for the left over bags and handed them out as freebees.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t she actually contributing to the problem by buying bags (even if they have recycled content)? I thought her whole theme was to enlighten people about the way we handle our trash. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. Kim Holleman Says:

    Hi Amy:
    actually all the plastic made in the world will never disintegrate, ever. By putting these bags into my work, I am saving them from the trash dump. That piece will never die, but will be “recycled” artistically until I die. The ones I bought are also the only biodegradable bags in the piece, unlike the other “collected” bags which are not.

    The bags I handed out are biodegradable, from recycled bags and contain upon them a sticker reminding people about all these issues and were made as “art objects”, so will not be thrown away. Those that took them, folded them neatly and placed them in bags as pieces of art to take home and put on walls, etc.

    By making precious these trash bags, I am inverting our usual association with them. Also, you, Amy, and all of us, do things in contradiction to our beliefs, but as long as we are all pulling and contributing what we can, we are doing the right thing, even if we drive a car once in a while or use a toxic substance known to us, to make a piece of art that generates this type of discussion.

    So, thank you for your comment. Hope that gives you more food for thought.
    Check out my website to familiarize further with this type of art.
    Kimholleman.com

    Kim

  4. everydaytrash Says:

    Thanks Amy and Kim for this interesting exchange!

  5. Jon Says:

    Hi Kim,
    I had the same thoughts as Amy when reading this article. I guess your response makes sense… but the giving money to buy new bags when there are so many leftover (a trashnami worth, if you will) kind of gets to me. I think that it would have been in the best spirit of the project to acquire all bags after a first use, saving them from the trash. Using biodegradable bags doesn’t exactly justify it either, they take about the same about of natural resources and energy to product as normal plastic bags, and doesn’t exactly promote the ‘reuse’ alternative which is far and away better.

    That aside, TRASHNAMI! is a great and fun way to create awareness, and a nice piece of art. Thanks!

  6. everydaytrash Says:

    Thanks for the comment and the link to your site, Jon!

  7. Garbage Collectors Scott Webel / Museum of Ephemerata | Flow Says:

    [...] “Toxic Reef” is a coral reef collaboratively crocheted out of plastic bags. Kim Holleman’s “Trashnami!” assembles the gyre as a wave crashing down on us. Chris Jordan’s photo series “Midway” [...]

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