Artist David Ellis’ kinetic sculptures transform ordinary trash with a life of their own. Each sculpture first appears as a typical pile of New York City rubbish, but the the refuse suddenly begins to move, creating a symphony of sounds that range from the thump of a trash can to the crinkle of a paper bag. Ellis’ sculptures not only recycle the trash that clogs city streets, but he gives the pieces a “voice” by infusing them with movement.

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Old paint cans, buckets, mesh trash bins, bags of shredded paper, disused tools and other pieces of refuse are arranged together to resemble a curbside dump. But upon closer inspection, viewers are in for a treat as they see the heaps of trash begin to come “alive.”

So how does it work? Attached to the underside of each piece is a carefully calculated sensor that is programmed to crash, clang and move the element above, producing a sound. Rather than just random noise, Ellis composes pieces for each kinetic sculpture, turning the pile of trash into not only a sculpture, but also a garbage orchestra!

Ellis has even collaborated with Ecuadorian sound artist Roberto Carlos Lange to create a site specific installation in New York’s Times Square. The piece did not go unnoticed, catching tourists and locals by surprise as a seemingly typical pile of trash that suddenly burst into song. Ellis’ body of paintings are highly influenced by music, so it was only natural to create sculptures narrowing in on the element.

Aside from bringing smiles to viewers that witness the garbage piles come to life, Ellis’ pieces also give a narrative to the trash that we discard every day, and the potential of reuse.

+ David Ellis at Joshua Liner Gallery

Video via World’s Best Ever


Images courtesy Joshua Liner Gallery