Sunday, October 23, 2011

Flestering for a saner world!

Have you ever heard of 'Flestering'?
I don't think I had until my wife thought to point it out to me recently. She knows I like doing stuff with junk and when she discovered the word and art of Flestering she had to tell me all about it!

I couldn't find the word in the dictionary so looked it up online and discovered only a few references to it but what I found, I liked!

Here is a definition of flestering according to this site: (Go and read some of their theory, I think it's pretty cool)

"Flester (fles-ter), n.,flesta, -am; v.,flesto, -are, avi, -um.

Attributed to Uncle Flester, presumed timeless and ubiquitous.

1. n. Defunct, discarded, things; immediately redeemable. In the post-industrial age, fragments of formerly functional contrivances.

2. n. Any "thing" in so far as one ascribes a presumptive integrity to it, often the result of a visual prejudice.

3. v. The act of flestering, i.e. making proliferative and promiscuous use of what is at hand, closely related to the practice of Bricolage (See French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss: "The Savage Mind.")"

If you've ever seen the film 'The Gleaners and I' you might remember seeing some of the fascinating people in the film who collected junk from the street and turned it into something... artfully transforming trash into objects of curiosity and sometimes beauty. The creators of the River Cube project call this kind of transformation of discarded material Artful Trash Management (ATM) and also use the term Flestering to describe the process. I like it.

There's a satisfying feeling you can get when salvaging stuff, junk, and turning it into something useful. Whether it is intended as art or not, many things transformed in this way appear to take on a magical new quality and an odd beauty! I remember the farm gates on properties back home were often made from recycled beds or other iron, which had been welded and cut to fit. The latches too were crafted from recycled iron.

Darwin has it's own examples of Flestering, some of it I have found to be absolutely inspiring! I can't help being drawn to anything created in this way, it just sucks me in!

Here's a couple of local examples of Flestering that I reckon are pretty cool.

Creative Image Gallery Tin Shed Gallery
I don't think they're showing anything at the moment but you can check out Pedro's handy work at Casuarina Square, you sit on it! (Erratum - the link is to Tin Shed Gallery but the place I'm referring to is actually the Creative Image Gallery... Oooops!)

Darwin Fridge Festival
The event came into being last year. It is produced by Darwin Community Arts. Last year it was a basic exhibition of art done on, in and with discarded fridges (from the tip I expect), In one year it has grown enormously and now includes poetry and performance art! I believe there's still time to get your entries in.
The opening of the 2011 Fridge Festival was held last night at the Darwin Aviation Institute. An awesome open air venue, that absolutely reeks of Old Darwin Town! If you weren't there you have seriously missed out on something special! No dress code, free mangoes and plenty of room for the kids to run around!

If you're into a seat of your pants Adventure Flester check out Monsoon Dervish! If you scroll down you can see the awesome recumbent bike that local adventurer (not sure he'd like to be called that) Kris Larsen has created and ridden where most people fear to drive! If you're curious about his yacht or bike and would like to know how they came into being, with a capital 'B' I recommend reading his books.

As for me I've only tinkered with small stuff, re-using things that have been discarded, and mostly things I find on the side of the road while riding to work. (you'd be surprised how much treasure falls through the cracks in a wealthy society!) There is one project I am following with keen interest though. I managed to rescue some old aircraft bits before they were tossed out for scrap metal and they are now being transformed by a wizard of recycling and his conspirator. I'll try to post a progress report soon.


Bikejuju said...

Hey there - I came here via Lyanda's blog, I'm the husband. Thanks for the Tom Waits heads-up, it made our day. Here's my favorite artist who works in the "recycle scrap" area...

David J said...

Hi Tom,
I'd better first point out that it was Ingrid who posted the link to the Tom Waits article. But thanks for the link to squarespace.
After reading your comment I went back and read the article in the Guardian which I would have missed otherwise. This also reminded me that i have placed Crow Planet on my wish list at the local bookshop... Now I'm gonna have to crack open the piggy bank!
I already subscribe to your bikejuju blog but by following your profile I discovered Artivism and the first image I saw there was a Taring Padi print! That was freaky! I have one on the wall right next to my computer! Thanks for the link, I look forward to reading the book.
Oh and thanks for sending me off on yet another serendipitous mystery tour!