CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Bucolic Dump Series

Please click on images for CAPTIONS

 Bucolic Dump Mid2 S2b 11.12 18x24m

Bucolic Dump Mid2 S2b 11.12 18x24m

"I locate, tag and document unwanted belongings dumped along rural routes. I’m interested in creating a dialogue between discarded objects, their owners, the chosen landscapes, and those who encounter the dump sites. Each tagged message is intended to provide billboard-like feedback to the offender and other potential dumpers. The ultimate goal is to trigger reconsideration. Dumping is an illegal and fundamentally selfish act, transferring disposal responsibility from the owner of the things to unsuspecting landowners and municipalities. Further, it violates the land as well as a citizen’s view of the land.

Living in Sonoma County, California it’s not difficult to access attractive pastoral locations. Scouting for illegal dumpsites involves more exploration, but is facilitated by knowing the types of topographical features that dumpers seek; most sites are found on lightly traveled, somewhat concealed stretches of road removed from residences. Dumping usually happens under cover of darkness. Sites straddle public rights of way and private property. Tagging is intended to give voice to the objects themselves, allowing them to message passers by at any time. These routes are frequented by local residents and are revisited by dumpers since many are local, too. The stenciled messages change the nature of the objects from passive and powerless to active and empowered. Deemed worthless by the dumper they now possess a point of view and at least some new, temporary value.

Once tagged, the scene is documented in an untreated, unfiltered manner. The work relies on minimal if any post-production. Compositions seek to include sufficient context to allow the viewer to reimagine the original dumping act as well as the new relationship between objects and passersby. The landscapes provide the context and are not intentionally celebrated for their inherent beauty. Bucolic Dump is a series of images documenting this roadside project from 2011 to present. Objects are tagged and images are captured as they are discovered. They accumulate slowly over time."

-Christopher Smith