Leslie Vigeant ACD MFA Practicum Spring 2011
Material rescue league: Exposing the potential of humble materials
This project plays with ideas of recovery and rehabilitation through the treatment of discarded goods. The Material Rescue Program has three phases. First is the Material Rescue Mission; Rescue League members risk their health and safety to rescue refuse materials from a fate worse than death. We view this rescue as an act of liberation. The second phase is rehabilitation, where League members take materials from their original physical state and transform them into raw material. Then we go into Phase three, the packaging process. Here, the raw materials are put through a process of branding and packaging.
The spaces between the three official steps of the project have been an enriching element of the making process. There has been a constant balancing act of hierarchies between maker and materials. In the beginning phases, League Members assume the role of caretaker, holding complete control. Once the materials are ready to be rehabilitated, there is a learning period in which each material comes forward with its own specific needs. Here, the materials hold the reins and guide the various new tools and techniques that must be learned for proper treatment. Then, in the packaging process, the hierarchy is switched yet again. The autocrat maker and designer, forces branding and labels onto the crafted products; who will then in turn show the League Members the appropriate size of packaging they need. So it has become a constant back and forth of directing and learning.
This push and pull process is working together to launch the project forward. Like lumberjacks working with a two man saw, the efforts of both the League Members and the materials are collaborative towards a common endeavor. It is as a direct result of a willingness to learn and be in a conversation with materials that this kind of self-propelling is possible.