Unconsumption means the accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer.
Unconsumption means the thrill of finding a new use for something that you were about to throw away.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a service like Freecycle (or Craigslist, Goodwill, or Salvation Army) to find a new home for the functioning DVD player you just replaced, rather than throwing it in the garbage.
Unconsumption means enjoying the things you own to the fullest – not just at the moment of acquisition.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a pair of sneakers until they are truly worn out – as opposed to the nagging feeling of defeat when they simply go out of style.
Unconsumption means feeling good about the simple act of turning off the lights when you leave the room.
Unconsumption is not about the rejection of things, or the demonization of things. It’s not a bunch of rules.
Unconsumption is an idea, a set of behaviors, a way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective.
Unconsumption is free.
Founder & Editor:Rob Walker, journalist, Savannah, GA
Editorial & Community Manager: Molly Block, marketing and business development geek, Houston, TX
The documentary “Humble Trash” highlights stories of six Austin residents who find creative uses for found, castoff objects.
Not surprisingly, the film’s stars — found-art artists and yardists, a.k.a. yard artists — share a love of “discovery” and seem to derive much satisfaction from both their salvaging efforts and work in displaying their finds.
One yardist, Scott Stevens, whose backyard is filled with bottle cap “snakes” suspended from tree limbs, doll and mannequin heads, crutches, and ironing boards, says working with his hands in his yard is therapeutic. (Check out this amazing panoramic/GigaPan photo of Scott’s yard. Take a moment to zoom in. Crazy, isn’t it?)
The six collections include the Museum of the Ephemerata and the Cathedral of Junk (mentioned previously here and here), which attracts some 10,000+ visitors each year; several of the collections have been stops on the annual Austin Art Yard Tour. (Held most recently last month, in case you missed it.)
Click on the above-embedded video to watch “Humble Trash” — it’s only 17 minutes long — or watch it here via the City of Austin. I think you’ll agree that producer Debbie Eynon Finley did a great job in capturing both the quirkiness and passions of this group of Austinites.
Stephanie, a Jackson, Mississippi-based metal artist, is known for her bottle tree creations. Her Web site links to that of horticulturalist Felder Rushing, who provides some bottle tree history and an array of photos of various bottle trees (a.k.a. “poor man’s stained glass”). If you look at his site, be sure to scroll down to view the photos.
For other wine-related repurposing ideas: Check out the Unconsumption “wine o’clock” series — a semi-regular series of Friday afternoon wine-themed posts — here.
Earlier we mentioned that Austinite Vince Hannemann’s Cathedral of Junk — “60 tons of old bicycles, VW Beetle trunks and various other castoff objects [fashioned] into a 33-foot-high edifice in his backyard” — was becoming a tourist attraction, but also getting some frowns from city officials.
The situation has apparently now been favorably resolved:
After receiving nationwide attention, and gracing the Austinist.com news feed, it looks like the Cathedral of Junk has finally received a building permit. After months of will they or won’t they, the City of Austin granted Cathedral creator Vince Hannemann the documentation that allows him to re-open the gates and allow visitors to once again marvel at the carefully crafted Cathedral.
According to KVUE, nearly 30 tons of material was removed from the structure over the past few months. The 40 tons that remain have been shown to withstand the 3,200 pounds of weight necessary to get the permit.
“Vince Hannemann has assembled 60 tons of old bicycles, VW Beetle trunks and various other castoff objects into a 33-foot-high edifice in his backyard here. This “Cathedral of Junk,” as he calls it, has become a local landmark in the 21 years since he started working on it. Just last year, it appeared in promotional materials for the People’s Gallery, a city-sponsored art exhibition meant to showcase Austin’s quirkiness and creative energy.
“But now Austin officials are taking a more serious look at the towering trash assemblage and thinking about whether it really belongs where it is. The reconsideration has reopened debate about how best to define and preserve Austin’s unique character.”