Ken Ehrlich + Brandon LaBelle
"Active Refuse", exploring sanitation systems in Berlin, with a presentation at the studio of Erik Göngrich
July 16, 2005
research intervention installation cooking
Developed in 2005, this project was based on looking into urban development in Berlin by using the motif of ginger plants. Ginger functioned as the operative ingredient by which to explore waste management, as the underside to food distribution. Taking cues from a Douglas Huebler piece created in 1969 in which the artist buried three jugs of water in various locations in the Mojave desert as remedy for future thirst, we mapped recent urban development sites in Berlin as indications of architectural production along with sites of waste and waste management. These sites served as markers for ginger cultivation: ginger and compost were placed at these locations and functioned as an invitation for urban gardening. The relationship between the built environment and waste management was highlighted to examine the dynamics between urban planning and debris, excess and leftovers. We also visited waste management centers and a bio-fuel plant near Berlin, interviewed waste-management officials, and located main arteries of the waste infrastructure in the city. The project generated thinking about urban space, waste and excessive consumption as a complex and dynamic relationship. As a public presentation, we prepared an installation with information about ginger, urban systems and waste. We also staged a cooking performance in which ginger was the main ingredient.
Ken on the run in Berlin BSR waste center's trash dump cooking ginger-carrot soup guests enjoying installation/soup