Holy Crap
AMY SUO WU ? | ? | ?
‘All societies have always wasted, squandered, expended and consumed beyond what is strictly necessary for the simple reason that it is in the consumption of a surplus, of a superfluity that the individual and society feel not merely that they exist, but that they are alive.’ -The Consumer Society by Jean Baudrillard

What does ‘waste’ mean in today’s throwaway society? How has the perception of waste changed since primitive societies? In a sociological sense Baudrillard maintains that in primitive societies wasting became a festive ritual and symbolic act of expenditure creating not only a validation of existence but more importantly a sense of being alive. Squandering, as it seems, played an essential social function, a productive function, of which became the site of creation of values. The fundamental characteristic which essentially differentiates our modern world to primitive societies however, is that in our current system it seems as though we have lost the ‘crucial symbolic and collective significance it could assume in primitive feasting and potlatch’ (an opulent ceremonial feast among North American Indian peoples of Northwest coast, at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige). With the onset of industrialisation, squandering has now become an obligatory mechanical act devoid of symbolism. The regime of designed obsolescence replaced what was once the ritual of value-making, stripping away the very essence of meaning. Thus the act of throwing away ‘waste’ may be interchangeable with throwing away values. We believe these rejected commodities equate to the loss of symbolic human relations. Holy Crap, a participatory happening by Alina Parigger (AT) and Amy Suo Wu (AU), is an attempt to recover the discarded values of symbolic exchange, human relations and collective significance by providing a sacred public space made of discarded material. Therefore, we would like to invite you to join us in the building of this sacred space. We aim to re-capture not only the productive function of waste but more specifically a symbolic relationship between the object and action. Partly found, partly donated, the materials may turn into sacrificial offerings enabling transcendence from its physical shell. The waste will assume the role of the divine, where the juxtaposition of the altars of primitive and modern values will serve to compromise our current perception of what waste embodies. Drop by for the finale where the space will serve as a survey of our collective values.
Opening night
work in progress
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Initiated by Alina Parigger and Amy Suo Wu, Holy Crap was a participatory happening in the Work in Progress space of Rot(t)terdam Roodkapje, a project situated in the center of Rotterdam. From the 7th of August to the 12th of September 2010, the space was open to the public and workshops were held for the following groups: artists from Via Kunst (gallery for homeless, {ex-} addicts, refugees, people with a psychiatric background and others with few resources for creative expression); artists from Galerie Atelier Herenplaats (gallery for artists with intellectual disability); children aged between 4-8 from Stichting Buurtwerkcentrum (an local Rotterdam neighborhood organization dealing with socio-cultural work, youth and activation); and Bestuur en communicatie, Bestuursdienst gemeente Rotterdam. Holy Crap was subsidised by Stichting SBAW and Dienst Kunst en Cultuur, Rotterdam.
The following photographs have been made by
Alina Parigger, Gianluca Craca and me.
Kids from Stichting Buurtwerkcentrum, Rotterdam
Artists from Galerie Atelier Herenplaats, Rotterdam
Bestuur en communicatie, Bestuursdienst gemeente Rotterdam. (Governance and communication, Administrative Department Rotterdam)
Flyer + Closing night
It's nearly been a full year and I've finally managed to do some kind of justice by documenting this project, for which there was a tremendous amount of effort that came from everyone involved. Looking back, it was a very special 5 weeks for me not only because it felt like an unforgettably vivid dream, but also because it was so compelling seeing what was collectively achieved in the end. Our shared vision was exhilarating and the vibrancy of the energy level blew me away. I would like to dedicate this page to all that were involved, but especially muchas gracias to: Gianluca Craca, Niccolò Mascheroni, Francesco Borroni, lovely lily, Rafal(Rufiohanger), Johan Waasdorp, Sumire Kobayashi, Wendy Wolf, Sanja Miletovic, Robert Kroos for the music knowledge, Milan Tilder, Nina, Jahua Oosterveen, Michael Richardt, Tim Braakman, Aline Yntema, Marieke de Rooy, Heleen Lobbe, Bróna Lynch, Amanda Geertsema, Dennis de Bel, Merel Vermeijden, Rachael Sender, Squat Deluxe, all the peeps from the Beat Burger + Roodkapje and last but not least, my co-initiator: Miss Alina Parigger! (please let me know if i've forgotten to mention your name!)
This track is a collage of sounds including a field recording of the inner-sphere of pipes in the industrial part of Rotterdam sampled by sound artist, Robert Kroos, and my own field recordings of the recycling process such as the breaking of glass, tearing of paper, smashing of metal bin lids and the movement of plastic containers. The vibration of an Om(heart) tuning fork at 136.10hz is overlaid. Reminiscent of holy songs, we turned these sounds into a meditative chant that was aired, along with lit candles, during our opening and closing show. Created in collaboration with Tim Braakman and Robert Kroos. Unfortunately Safari doesn't support this ogg file however Firefox luckily does - sorry for the inconvenience. Enjoy the tour!
Artists from Via Kunst, Rotterdam