Faced with moving to a smaller studio, artist Mac Premo did not want to part with the 500 objects he collected over the last few decades. Instead, he transformed a disused dumpster into a mobile gallery installation to display his objects of ephemera. Currently located at Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center, the Dumpster Project is a life size collage that gives visitors a glimpse inside one artist's life.
Like a true pack rat, Premo has accumulated and archived many objects throughout his life, which called his studio home. When deciding to move to a smaller studio, the artist realized he’d have to get rid of many of these prized items. Rather than throw them away, he decided to upcycle the items into one incredible collage.
Over 500 items occupy the 30-yard long dumpster. Before assembling, Premo meticulously photographed each one, and blogged about the pieces each day. Belt buckles, baseball cards, shoes, mix tapes, fortune cookie messages, wisdom teeth, drawings, and other memorabilia from his life were each photographed on a simple white background to be catalogued. To accompany each piece of ephemera, Premo wrote a brief historical narrative, a memory about objects that he held dear to his heart or just a mere description for those that did not strike nostalgia.
Assembled all together, the objects take on new life. Like a giant Victorian curio cabinet, the pieces are all displayed in shelves, cases and shadow boxes. But Premo’s arrangements of each piece gives them a new dialogue. Suitcases are opened and turned into shelves. Vintage wooden boxes house trinkets and old toys. Each object now relates to the last in a visual way, rather than as accumulations of Premo’s life.