Junkyard Art: The Art of Recycling

Students' Pieces

The following pieces were created over IAP 2005 by students during the Junkyard Art IAP activity. See also photos of the pieces.
walking woods
Valerie Jayne
MIT Student Art Association
fragments of wood grain
the inner face of trees
lines and colors of sap and fiber
in rhythm of space and time
like Giacometti's figures in a city
and till Birnam wood do come to Dunsinane
Marty Skelton
I created this piece with very little planning and in very little time. One of the interesting things I discovered while creating this sculpture was the profound effect that each of the steel tubes could have on the final piece based on the cuts and welds in their initial state. As I attached each new piece, it's placement was limited based on length, shape, and holesaw angles made at the shop from which the pieces came. The challenge became unexpectedly to maintain coherency with the pieces, almost like some sort of free-form three dimentional puzzle. At the same time, I was just learning to weld, a fact which can be discerned from the globular, discolored nature of most of the joints. A rather haphazard creative process resulted from these circumstances. I leave you with this:

"Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee." — Marcus Aurelius

The Lamp
Rene Chen
Sophomore, Materials Science and Engineering.
The building of the lamp involved breaking a recycling bins worth of glass bottles, collecting only the ideal bottoms and necks. These differently sized circular glass bottle parts were the glued down to form the lamp shade. The lamp switch handles are made from the corks of wine bottles. The base of the lamp is a collage of different shades of green glasses. All the broken glass pieces are left sharp. The jagged cuts of the glass bottoms and necks point inward to the light bulbs. The outward appearance of this lamp shimmers with beauty, but the inside consists of sharp edges that were unaltered from their original broken state.
Clock Chime
Arly Cassidy
Library Assistant, RetroSpective Collection
This piece happened as an afterthought. I was originally going to use the clock face with the lamp, and I couldn't detach the face from the motor, so I decided to try taking the motor apart. All of the pieces hanging from the copper wires and glued to the stand are from inside the motor. I was disappointed to see that the copper was too stiff to allow for much jangling between the parts, but if you give the stand a good shake you can still get some sound out of it. Also, the holes in the wood form constellations.

One of the great things about this class was how much we recycled--even within our group: this stand originally supported the globe that now spins on Justin's wood podium, and the motor and buttons for the globe came from the fan I dismantled.

I'm a Fan
Arly Cassidy
Library Assistant, RetroSpective Collection
This was the first piece I conceived of. On the third morning of class I saw an old fan sitting in a trash pile, and I was immediately attracted to its metal frame. Once I took the fan blades out, I saw how perfectly a light bulb would fit inside. As for the wooden circle, the pieces originally belonged to a clothes drying rack, which I sawed apart. Both the circle and the straight lines of the wood are clearly reflected by the fan cage in a kind of off-kilter symmetry.
Melanzane in Carrozza
Trasporto dalla Tecnologia
Arly Cassidy
Library Assistant, RetroSpective Collection
This whole project was one stream of consciousness. I found the baby carriage wheels in a pile of trash; I thought of Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, but wanted to do a slight variation; I settled on an eggplant. When I Googled "eggplant carriage," most hits were about melanzane in carrozza, which is an Italian dish of stuffed eggplant, so I decided to go with it. I used some metal mesh, or wiring--I'm not sure what you'd call it--to form the shape of the eggplant, which I paper mache'd over. Valerie suggested leaving an opening, so I did. Once I figured out how to sling the eggplant, I started thinking about what would lead the carriage. We didn't have any mice lying around, so I decided some of the left over computer boards would do nicely. Nails glued on as legs, some at odd angles, I think add the appearance of motion. The reins were the finishing touch. So, clearly, this is an eggplant carriage lead by technology.
Jennifer Hsieh
1st year Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Materials: scrap wood, PVC pipe, video boxes, keyboard keys, spray paint, glue, screws, nails This sculpture was inspired by several discarded keyboards I found. After taking the keyboards apart, I noticed the beveled edges of the keys and the different mechanisms behind the keys. From this, I created several rings that looked like gears, and gears naturally led me to some kind of machine. The central PVC shaft can be rotated, and once in a while, all the imperfectly matched gears will turn in sync.
Five green, seven brown, five white.
Clay Ward '97
Coordinator, Student Art Association
This is an experiment. It's made from broken glass. Don't lick it.
A Lively Ambivalence
Sarah Wright
Senior Writer, News Office
This is an essay in nest form. It is made entirely of objects found in the Plaster Studio on Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the late afternoon. I enjoyed the intricacy and delicacy of the wires and the way they formed a space of their own, the same way individual ideas form themselves then weave together. The clunky metal machine thing was not a pleasure, not being malleable, but it provided a way for the wire-nest not to be crushed. A lively ambivalence makes the best nest if you're dealing with big institutions.
Wobbly World
Justin Adams
Assistant Officer, EHS Office
Materials: Discarded fan motor, globe and wood.
Tech Nest
Justin Adams
Assistant Officer, EHS Office
Materials: Nest made from wires clipped off of discarded computers.
Martin Demaine
Artist-in-Residence, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Luis Rafael Berrios-Negron
Graduate Student, School of Architecture And Planning
Unuseless light.
Green Chair
Chandra Batra
A wheel chair full of life.