What could this become?

05 Nov, 2020
 
Xin Cheng and Mon Jansen

Staff member Monique Jansen from the School of Art & Design and renowned artist Xin Cheng have given new life to AUT’s waste. AUT creates many different waste streams from all departments and faculties, totalling around 680 tonnes of waste to landfill every year. Monique and Xin explored these materials and their potential to be born again into art by asking the simple question: ‘what could this become?’

The artists discovered a goldmine of resources amongst AUT’s waste and repurposed it in many different ways including:

  • Milk bottles from Newsfeed and WG were turned into brushes, drawing tools, string, and containers for mixing ink
  • Felting wool leftovers from the Textile Design Lab became a hat
  • Coffee grounds, charcoal and dried clay from Newsfeed and WM was mixed into paints, dyes, and inks

Waste is a significant global issue and the pair decided that instead of viewing it as useless, we should instead see it as a resource. “Making is always remaking: reassembling existing materials and spaces” - Christopher Dell & Ton Matton (2016), so why not remake otherwise abandoned items.

Materials for art and design students are notoriously expensive, putting a strain on many. Monique and Xin have found, through this project, a new way to source materials free of charge that could help both the students and the planet.

You can see their beautiful creations showing at the St Pauls St Gallery in WM until 4 December. If you know of a resource that the university is producing that could be used again please contact Monique at monique.jansen@aut.ac.nz.

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