Kevin B. Chen
Scott Oliver
Tree, Crate, Camper Shell, Or, On the Way to Becoming Something Else (photo documentation), 2013
Custom sawdust/paper fiber composite boards, plywood, pine, Douglas fir, acrylic caulk, and various hardware

“Created objects are not static entities, but points along a continuum of material transformation fueled by human desire (or the lack there of). Put another way, artifacts are always part of a process and never an end point. So the things we make are not separate from the natural world of which they are made, even if they often linger far beyond their usefulness in ever-growing heaps of dead technology.

The new composite material developed by Christine Lee and John F. Hunt is informed by this awareness. It is made of reclaimed industrial waste, biodegradable and recyclable. Unlike many artificial materials, the Lee/Hunt composite board makes a virtue of its ephemerality and non-toxicity. It decidedly will not be around for generations to come, decanting poisons into the environment. But that’s not the whole story. The shift away from building with unsustainable and unhealthy materials is not so straightforward.

As with all new things, the Lee/Hunt boards are born into a world deeply entrenched in older ways of doing things. The boards had to be shipped to San Francisco from Wisconsin by truck. I recently moved to Fort Bragg, a small town about 3 ½ hours north of San Francisco, necessitating my allotment of boards be re-crated and shipped again. And I would have to get the piece I made back to the city. I wanted my project to reflect all this—to incorporate the exigencies of its making (and the making of this exhibition) in its form.

I decided to make a camper shell for my Toyota pick-up. I recycled the crate materials into the structural frame for the shell and clad that in the Lee/Hunt boards. Besides being a nice inversion of the crate and its contents the camper shell is for me, metaphoric of the relationship between the novel material and established infrastructure, which despite its stubbornness must ultimately give way to a new reality.” – Scott Oliver

By-product Becomes Product

February 6 – March 30, 2013
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Photo credit: Scott Chernis
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