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www.rairphilly.org


2016

RAIR Year in Review R A I R P H I L LY.O R G


A Message from our Founders Since our inception in 2010, RAIR’s staff has had the pleasure of working with an ever-growing list of artists, museums, galleries, schools, and community groups to find sustainable solutions to a broad range of creative problems. Mining the mountains of waste that accumulate each day in Revolution Recovery’s tipping yard, we’ve managed to transform “trash” into seating for public performances, planters for community gardens, primary sources for undergraduate research projects, shelving for condo units, and raw material for hundreds of new and experimental artworks that have been exhibited both locally and nationally. The list goes on, but suffice it to say that we’re ceaselessly amazed by the bottomless resource that is the dump, and we plan to keep shouting it from the rooftops.

And of course we at RAIR are proud to say that 2016 was our biggest year yet: we partnered with over a dozen local institutions, reached a cumulative audience of over 15,000, and with our first ever event series Live At The Dump we stretched our organizational arms wider than ever, welcoming the public to visit us at our unique facility in Tacony for a series of four interactive events and art performances. The success of this event series has been wind in our sails to dream up increasingly ambitious projects as we approach the new year. We’re looking forward to reaching across fields to stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue about waste culture, and continuing to find fun ways to re-frame the way Philadelphia thinks about trash.


ABOUT RAIR p.10

2 3 4 R E S I D E N CY PROGRAM p.12

SPECIAL PROJECTS PROGRAM p.38

L I V E AT T H E D U M P p.52

S TA F F p.64


PA R T O N E

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About RAIR Founded in 2010, Recycled Artist in Residency (RAIR) is an art + industry nonprofit whose central mission is to promote and support sustainable practices in the worlds of art and design. Situated inside the Revolution Recovery

rubble, cardboard, and an ever-surprising variety

construction waste recycling facility in Tacony,

of domestic debris. RAIR’s program areas are

Northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists,

designed to stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue

community groups, educators and industry

about waste culture, and to reify sustainable

partners access to over 350 tons of materials per

solutions by interrupting the waste stream and

day. Materials in RAIR’s waste piles come from

facilitating the production of high- quality

construction, demolition, industrial and

creative content that takes trash as its object or

m a n u fa ct u r i n g i n d u str i e s i n a n d a ro u n d

as its medium.

Philadelphia, and include wood, plastic, metal, OPPOSITE: PHOTOS COURTESY OF RAIR

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Resid Progr

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PA R T T W O

Since its inception, RAIR’s flagship Residency

recycling facility. By facilitating artists’ direct

Program has established itself as a unique

engagement with the waste stream, RAIR

opportunity for artists to work at the intersection

encourages residents to consider their studio

of art, industry, and sustainability. The only

practice through the lens of sustainability and to

residency program on the east coast (and one of

thoughtfully re-assess their processes of material

only two in the country) that directly connects

sourcing and waste disposal.

artists to the waste stream, the RAIR Residency Program provides artists on-site access to

This year, seven artists were selected to participate

recovered materials and a studio space in which to

in the program: Jaime Alvarez, Theo Mullen, Lily

produce new and experimental work. Artists-in-

Cox-Richard, Jeff Williams, collaborative team Ava

residence receive attentive support from RAIR’s

Hessinger and James Maurelle, and Ana Peñalba.

staff, who act as liaisons between the artist and the

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dency ram

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RESIDENT ARTIST

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Jaime Alvarez Jaime Alvarez searched the tipping yard

Painting each of these items white, Jaime

for objects signifying both domesticity

transformed found personal ephemera

and masculinity: kitchen utensils, auto

into archetypal forms and arranged these

parts, radio parts, trophies, toy cars,

to be photographed, combining objects

sports equipment, pots, pans, coolers, and

to suggest surprising relationships and

a collectable figurine of John Wayne.

new mythologies.


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ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

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“The best picks came from 1-800-Got-Junk, which brought clean-outs from people’s homes”


RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST BOTTOM: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

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Theo Mullen Theo Mullen adopted a maximalist

as setups for photographs. After hours at

gathering method in the waste piles,

the recycling center, Mullen used his

collecting as many materials as he could to

sculptures and found materials to stage

bring into RAIR’s studio. Mullen used his

sparse, scattered compositions across the

waste finds to create composite forms that

tipping yard, which he photographed from

functioned both as autonomous works and

an aerial view using the facility’s High Reach.

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RESIDENT ARTIST

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“There are wormhole’ moments, lifting up one thing another thing, that uncovers another thing. Some really

RA I R 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRAM

that uncovers

amazing discoveries are made that way.” OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR OPPOSITE BOTTOM: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

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OPPOSITE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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RESIDENT ARTIST

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Lily Cox Richard For several years, Lily Cox-Richard has

with Sullivan Scrap Metal’s Aljon

been invested in a long-term project Old

logger-baler, Lily created three 1,000 lb

Copper Futures which focuses on the

bales of #2 scrap copper sourced from

role of urban mining and reclamation in

Revolution Recovery. During the

the copper industry. Lily considered her

Recycling Center’s quiet off-hours, Lily

RAIR Residency an opportunity to

also produced several large graphite

refine and reframe this project by

rubbings mapping the surface texture

following scrap copper as it moves

of bales: a meditation on the volume and

through the waste stream, and to reify

density of scrap material compressed

the project in sculptural form: working

in its transitional state from use to reuse.


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“RAIR provides artists and thinkers opportunities to physically grapple in their enormity and filth as we attempt to articulate better questions about the environmental and economic sustainability of the way we live”


RA I R 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRAM

ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

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Jeff Williams Jeff Williams was a “Biggie-Shortie” resident:

excavator, he constructed a 15,000 lb

working only on weekends, he completed a

monumental sculpture built of concrete

series of big, temporary projects in a short

barrier blocks and aluminum car hoods.

amount of time, returning his materials to

Williams’ residency culminated in a series

the sorted waste piles at the end of each

of monitors mounted in waste piles, featuring

workday. One of the first RAIR artists in

videos of neatly-cut cross-sections of the

residence to work at Revolution Recovery’s

building materials of the pile that housed

Delaware facility, Williams spent the first

them: an aluminum I-beam presented in a

chapter of his residency getting to know the

pile of crushed and twisted aluminum; a log

equipment and materials readily available

presented in a two-story pile of sawdust.

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RESIDENT ARTIST

on-site: using a forklift, front end loader, and

OPPOSITE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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RA IR 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRA M

TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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“[I’m] taking things that most of society considers garbage, and thinking about of that thing . . . how it has cycled around the country

RA I R 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRAM

the lived history

or globe to get to this particular designation as waste” 29


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RESIDENT ARTIST

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Ava Hassinger + James Maurelle Gathering objects of interest from the

point of their collaborative work:

waste piles both individually and together,

Hessinger collected tables, dressers,

Ava Hessinger and James Maurelle treated

walkers, crutches, trophies and fabrics;

the RAIR studio as a kind of lab: a space

Maurelle collected wooden furniture,

in which to grow and experiment with a

loose lumber, and weight-bearing objects

series of collaborative ideas. Hessinger

like chair and table legs. This collaborative

and Maurelle identified and explored the

pair found common interest in the

common trends in their respective

reignition and recontextualization of

collections, and let this be the starting

found and worn domestic ephemera.


ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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“There are memories in these objects, and I think RA IR 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRA M

in some ways we’re celebrating their life and death, and hopefully giving them a new life in some ways by re-imagining their identities” 32


RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR BOTTOM: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

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OPPOSITE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

Ana Peñalba Ana Peñal ba approached her RAIR

unpredictability of the recycling yard had a

residency with a very particular project in

transformational effect on her working

mind: to reproduce iconic Philadelphia

method, pushing her away from clean and

architecture using waste. But while her

detailed sculptural work toward “big and

project was specific, her parameters were

dirty” microarchitecture. As her first

loose: she defined no rules about what

opportunity to explore the territory between

materials should be used from the trash piles,

sculptural and architectural scale, the RAIR

or how the structures should be built.

residency broke down the barrier between

Peñalba found that the intensity and

Peñalba’s identity as artist and as architect.

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RESIDENT ARTIST

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ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR

RA IR 2 01 6 • R E S I D E N CY PRO GRA M

LEFT: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

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“Coming to RAIR is like planning a trip to the moon. No matter how much time you spend planning things, you don’t understand the potential until you arrive”

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Speci Proje Progr

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PA R T T H R E E

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With the establishment and expansion of new

sourced, low- or no-cost materials. RAIR has also

program areas over the past six years, RAIR has

fostered cross-disciplinary partnerships with dozens

extended its reach far beyond its resident artists,

of community groups, regional institutions and

engaging local communities through recycling

industry partners to source materials from the waste

facility tours, presentations, and educational

stream for use in projects both public and private.

workshops that illuminate the connections between

RAIR staff provide assistance with project planning,

art, industry and sustainability. RAIR’s Special

design, and fabrication to maximize the creative

Projects Program serves an ever-widening range of

potential of waste materials, stimulating sustainable

student, emerging, and professional artists by

material sourcing practices both within and beyond

fielding and fulfilling diverse requests for responsibly

Philadelphia’s art community.

RA I R 2 01 6

ial ects ram

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Penn Praxis:

RAI R 2 01 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PROGRA M

WasteNot

PennDesign students Doug Breuer, Clay Gruber and Allison Koll collaborated with Mural Arts Program’s Shira Walinsky for WasteNot: a Penn Praxis Social Impact Project that brought together designers, community members and industry partners to collaboratively design and install the infrastructure of a community garden at SouthEast by SouthEast (SExSE), an activated storefront and community hub in southeast Philadelphia. A scaffold structure, bench, and long raised planter were built in the backyard of SExSE using

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repurposed wood sourced by RAIR at Revolution Recovery.


FLWRY

RA I R 201 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PRO GRAM

RAIR designed and fabricated a unique installation for the spring launch party of FLWRY, a local flower membership service. The floral canopy, made entirely from recycled materials sourced from the waste piles including over 2,000 plastic and sil k flowers, remained at Elixr cafe for six months. OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDON STILLMAN ABOVE: PHOTO SOURCE UNKNOWN

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RAI R 2 01 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PROGRA M

Frankfordian and Frankford Stacks

RAIR partnered with real estate development company JDT International to create custom design components for new condo units in the new Frankford Stacks and Frankfordian buildings. RAIR designed, fabricated and installed walls and shelving units with wood salvaged from the developments’ construction waste.

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Abigail DeVille: Half Moon

RA I R 201 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PRO GRAM

Artist Abigail DeVille sourced a truckload of materials like wood, tyek, and tarps from RAIR for her sculpture Half Moon at Socrates Park, an outdoor museum and public park in Queens, New York City.

OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF RAIR ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF NATE DORR

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Village of Arts and Humanities: RAI R 2 01 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PROGRA M

Spaces

RAIR sourced materials for Olanre Tejuoso, West African artist-inresidence for the international artist residency SPACES at the Village of Arts & Humanities in North Philadelphia. Tejuoso sourced 2x4s, metal chairs and cardboard for a series of window displays along Germantown’s merchant corridor. ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VILL AGE OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF CALEB ECKERT

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Haverford College: Symbiosis

RA I R 201 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PRO GRAM

Symbiosis was an art exhibit showcasing the results of a semesterlong collaboration between Haverford College students in the course Critical Disability Studies: Theory + Practice, and artists with intellectual disabilities from the Center for Creative Works. RAIR designed and fabricated modular wall panels for the exhibit in Zubrow Commons using recycled cubicle walls.

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Haverford College:

RAI R 2 01 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PROGRA M

Philadelphia Freedoms

RAIR partnered with students in the course Philadelphia Freedoms: Cultural Landscapes and Civic Ideals, a critical writing seminar at Haverford college to conduct a series of dialogues focusing on a collection of hand-picked trash artifacts from Revolution Recovery’s waste piles. This collaboration resulted in a zine of essays produced by students archiving the insights inspired by discarded objects.

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Mural Arts: Unsung

RA I R 201 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PRO GRAM

RAIR contributed eight sheets of antique corrugated metal to Unsung: a Mural Arts project collaboratively created by composer Nadia Botello and video artists Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib. Installed beneath the Reading Viaduct, this sound and video performance evokes the silenced and forgotten voices of historic and contemporary women in the Callowhill neighborhood. OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF CALEB ECKERT ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE WEINIK

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Barnes Foundation:

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Teacher Institute

Art teachers from the Barnes Foundation Teacher Institute visited RAIR’s facilities for a guided tour of the yard, and an interactive workshop in RAIR’s studio: teachers used molds to make miniature cardboard bales.

ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OFTHE BARNES OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF SUSTAIN PHL

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SustainPHL

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RAIR designed and fabricated a series of trophies with wood sourced from Revolution Recovery to be awarded to “city leaders and unsung heroes” at SustainPHL’s city-wide fundraiser. The event was a celebration dedicated to uniting the sustainability community and increasing engagement.

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RAI R 2 01 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PROGRA M


A L L I S O N KO L L

RA I R 201 6 • S PEC I A L PRO JECT S PRO GRAM

“Not only were RAIR staff accommodating and flexible in scheduling time for our material sourcing, but they were incredibly helpful, supportive and invested in our project – sharing links of similar designers’ work around the city, offering advice, and checking in on our progress. Our project really took shape through the materials that we found at RAIR, and it was a great way of working through the design process. Wading through the “junk” in search of treasures was also a lot of fun.” PENN PRAXIS

OPPOSITE TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF CALEB ECKERT OPPOSITE BOTTOM: PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDON STILLMAN

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PA R T F O U R

Live At The Dump 52


This year, RAIR’s facilities became a community gathering space for Live at the Dump: a site-specific event series that invited the public to experience live art, interactive performances, and entertaining programming in the unique setting of the recycling center’s tipping yard. Surrounded by mountainous piles of waste, visitors experienced the physical reality of the local waste stream while participating in light-hearted activities and high quality art programming.

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2016 EVENTS

Movie Night: Wall-E

Martha McDonald: Songs of Memory and Forgetting

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Movie Night: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Talking Trash with Nato Thompson & Tom Sachs OPPOSITE: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO

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i

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“It was an incredibly moving, powerful program in a unique setting. I was amazed and would love to come back for more.”

OPPOSITE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN COLLERD ABOVE LEFT: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO ABOVE RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO

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“The setting was at the heart of this site specific performance. It could not have happened anywhere else in the same way. It was magical. It was a profound use of the space and amplified the context in poignant, moving ways.”

ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN COLLERD RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO FAR RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO

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RAIR transformed its site into a family-friendly outdoor theater for its first two events, a pair of post-apocalyptic film screenings: “Movie Night: Wall-E” and “Movie Night: Mad Max”. For the next event, RAIR brought small audiences to experience performance artist Martha McDonald’s “Songs of Memory and Forgetting”: an intimate song-tour of the waste yard that used repurposed folk tunes and personal ephemera found on-site to explore the RA I R 2 01 6 • LI V E AT T HE D U MP

fragile nature of memory.

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ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO

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ABOVE: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE PERSICO

Finally, “Talking Trash” invited sculptor Tom Sachs and Creative Time Artistic Director Nato Thompson to use the sorting line as a backdrop for a public discourse about material sourcing, sustainable practices, and the dual identity of “found materials” as trash and as treasure.

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“[I felt like I was] part of something new, or at least different. Refreshing, especially in context of ‘art’ events.”

This program was generously supported by PEW Center for Arts & Humanities.

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Staff BILLY BLAISE DUFALA

Director of Residencies

FERN GOOKIN

Co-founder

LUCIA THOMÉ

Director of Special Projects

MARIEL CAPANNA

Arts Administrator

NANCY CHEN

Arts Administrator


RAIR Year in Review 2016

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