It started on April Fool’s Day, 1992, when a handful of found-object artists gathered at a local diner. It’s blossomed into a coalition of 40 “creative re-use” artists who socialize, plan shows, and exchange found treasures like lamp parts and appliances, broken jewelry and sports equipment – the fodder for their witty artworks. They’re the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, and they have a sweet, chaotic energy all their own.
They have only one unbreakable rule: “you can’t end a meeting until you decide where the next one will be held,” but plenty of maxims. There’s the time-tested “Rule of a Hundred” which, according to co-founder Neil Benson, holds that “something you would not take one of, you will take 100 of”. (Think pencils, buttons and bottle caps….)
And there’s sage trash-picking advice: If you kick a trash bag and it’s soft, move on. Never dive into a dumpster if you can’t get out. (And, yes, it is rarely necessary to actually climb in.) And most important: Always leave a trash site neater than you found it.
The message behind the fun? That the richest society in history needs to find a more sustainable way to use (and reuse) its dwindling resources. To quote Neil Benson, “Trash is simply a failure of imagination.”
courtesy Kate Mellina & Dave Christopher at unexpectedphila.com