This is sort of weird and personal, but here goes: it gives me a rush to see commercial bric-a-brac in a down and dirty survival context. For example, when I see cardboard shacks in the Mexican colonias, I always feel a little rush when I see the word “Pringles,” or “THIS SIDE UP,” or “IBM.” It’s so…post apocalyptic. So that shelving unit in the chicken coop always gave me a small charge, and I get a rush from burning wooden crates with produce trademarks stamped on the ends.
You see, commercial products are constantly hyped, creating little “recognition centers” in our heads. So, when you walk down a busy street or store aisle familiar products seem to leap out at you screaming “Buy me!” But seeing the product in a ‘no bull’ context is like mental anti-toxin. You see the product leap out at you and think, “Our hogs like that!” You begin to feel layer upon layer of artificiality stripped away as you peer into dumpsters and use what you find.
-John Hoffman, “The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving”
Crazy guerrilla capitalist that he is, I have to give it to John Hoffman on this one. I, too, like to see objects re-used in bizarre ways, love the “we’re living amongst the ruins” aesthetic of building with “trash.” And so today I present to you the bike wheel chandelier that graces one of our Wagenplatz kitchens.
For those of you who find this hideous (and I can’t say I would have built it with quite the same trappings myself), just remember the basic principle behind building something like this is super easy, infinitely flexible, and completely free.