Streams

The University of Trash

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Composting could be a class at the University of Trash. The experimental university, an art project at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, relies on the public to propose its curriculum. The University of Trash is what artists Michael Cataldi and Nils Norman call "an experiment in alternative architecture, urbanism and pedagogy." To create the physical structure of the university, Norman says he and Cataldi worked with students from the alternative high school, City as School.

NORMAN: Basically working together with the students we worked through different ideas they wanted, and one was a meeting room, a hallway, a Jacuzzi, a store and a lighthouse.

The "Skool of Refuse and Appropriation" is made up almost entirely of recycled materials. Michael Cataldi says the bales of paper that serve as furniture are on loan from a recycling plant:

CATALDI: They donated them to us with the intention of picking them up and then putting them back into that recycling stream.

Nils Norman says part of reason for creating the University of Trash is to show that art galleries can use more sustainable methods in mounting shows and can do a lot more than just put objects on display.

NORMAN: Not producing products, not producing finished things that can then be bought or sold, it's more about process and about human engagement and its about exchanging ideas and exchanging skills.

Throughout the exhibition, there will be workshops, screenings and presentations. If you want to attend a free course at the University of Trash, or propose a course, visit the school's website, www.universityoftrash.org.

The school year is open through August 3rd.

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