Salvage/Salvation is an installation and performance project that explores the metaphysics of re-use and the philosophical, emotional and material implications of discard. The project is made for spaces that are between uses or slated for demolition, and appropriate outdoor sites. A group of visual and performing artists create independent but overlapping environments and performances grouped loosely around a central theme. The site itself, the surrounding community and any discarded materials found on-site inspire the exact character of the event. Through its methodology and the striking nature of the final environments, Salvage/Salvation seeks to bring ideas of scavenging and transformation to center stage and create a dialogue with the public about sustainable relationships to our physical environment, advocating ingenuity and unity.
“…salvage/salvation, feeling compelled to not let things go to waste, yet facing the ephemeral nature of existence…” (Greg Wildes, participant, Salvage/Salvation Part I: HOME)
The guiding questions for Salvage/Salvation are:
• How do we view decay and loss? Death and decay, on big and small scales, are always in our lives—from rotting fruit to a broken stereo to a bombed-out city to the death of a relative to the ruins of once-great structures. How do we approach these experiences? Do we accept or reject them, live with them or repress them?
• What do we discard, materially and socially, emotionally and spiritually, and what place do these discards have in our lives? How do we value discards? We are sometimes encouraged to discard the reality of death and loss, but does the life span of an object or state of mind end when we’re “done” with it? How does it continue in the world?
• What makes garbage garbage? There is comfort in excess; it is desirable to have enough to throw “away,” and a deep sense of cleansing in the act of discarding. How does this form, and can it be changed?
• In a world of dwindling resources, how do we become a society of scavengers and survivors rather than producers and consumers? When in life are people scavengers? We want to affirm the already-existing roles and skills of scavenger and survivor that people take on in their lives (retrieving objects from the side of the road, creating a planter from a bathtub, finding furniture in Dumpsters, etc.).