Place where dump becomes art

DSC01655How much waste does the average citizen produce? According to statistics average american produces 4.4 pounds of waste every day. With all the population of San Francisco Bay area it roughly turns into 1,5 million tons per year. All these waste is coming to different  facilities operated by Recology the company and community that aims to achieve Zero Waste by the year of 2020.

 It all wouldn’t be possible without high awareness of people in the area who contribute to zero waste on their local neighbourhood level. Building up that awareness is one of the goals of Recology’s art in residence program that was established at the same year when recycling was being implemented in the city and county of San Francisco in 1989. It basically means that at least three generations of people have learned how to recycle from their school age.

For  artists the residence program is  unique chance to get an access to the dump which is an unlimited source of inspiration and resources. Artists create an artwork from materials scavenged from the dump in a workshop and then expose it at Recology’s exhibition space. They also meet with groups of children and adults who come to visit Recology every week and talk to them about their work.



Things that could sometimes be scavenged from the dump are astounding! Some of them could have been exhibited in a museum. My friend Micah from Recology has recently shown me some of his findings. Among them there was an ancient computer – calculating electric maschine from 1896 that looks exactly like enigma and architectural sketches of the City Hall and some of the main buildings of San Francisco from the late 19th and early  20th century.



My experience in Recology so far has been amazing from the very first moment. I was literally embraced as a member of a family. After short introduction period which included guided expeditions to some almost sacred areas of Recology like unofficial sculpture park designed by workers and meeting Indigo the falconer (they use falcons to scare off seagulls),  Deborah – the director of the art program introduced me to my schedule which looked pretty tight. She wanted me to see most of the events happening in the area during my residence period. Among some of the must see and visit exhibitions and art events their were Halloween in Castro district and a sunset at the China beach, art students presentations at San Francisco State University and participation at the advisory board  that selected nominees of the Residence program for the next year. I gave a talk about my projects in Siberia and even met Mike Sangiacomo – Recology’s CEO. We found my home town on the map and Mike said that he wants to come and visit!  I was able to get involved into some field work such as painting the workshop and preparation  for brazilian delegation visit.








 The time flies so quickly here.Things are changing very fast but one thing remains the same. When I go to Recology in the morning through Duboce park (I live between Castro and Haight street) I always see people jogging and walking their dogs. On my way back I see basically the same picture but the color of the sky changes to orange.  Victorian houses in the neighborhood look more like a decoration of the fairy tale movie and I always find a fresh newspaper at my door. Yes, people still read newspapers here and discuss news with each other while they are walking their dogs. There is something magical about San Francisco something that you won’t experience in any other city in the world!


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