Every skyscraper in every city on the planet, just for starters, contains hundreds of tons of iron, steel, aluminum, and copper. In a deindustrial society, this is all raw material ready to be cut apart by salvage crews, hauled away on oxcarts, and turned into knives, hoes, plowshares, and other useful things. The same is just as true of most of the other artifacts of 20th and 21st century technology, from cars to tin cans to the rebar that runs through every concrete structure in the industrial world.
- John Michael Greer, The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (2008)
Since the start of 2022, Xin Cheng and Adam Ben-Dror have been seeking out and practicing the know-how for transforming the material extravagance and detritus of the industrial age into small, beautiful and sometimes useful things. Wandering through sustainable living centres, commercial buildings set for renovation, e-waste recycling organisations, scrap metal yards and op-shops, they gathered materials, stories, tactics and hosted conversations and workshops under the project Local Making.
This exhibition is some of the radiance from the junkyard.
Adam Ben-Dror is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and inventor based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. With Xin Cheng he co-runs Local Making, a neighborhood-scaled laboratory for living and making together amongst the more-than-human Anthropocene. His work has been shown at Gus Fisher Gallery, the Dowse Art Museum, Artspace Aotearoa, TAPAC and internationally at IMA Cultural House (Kumamoto, Japan), the Barbican Center (London), Tekniska Museet (Stockholm), Science Gallery (London), Bal Robotov (Moscow), Design Week (Istanbul), Onassis Stegi (Athens). His performance works have been presented at The Performance Arcade and Performance Art Week Aotearoa. Adam teaches design at the University of Auckland and is a facilitator with the Compost Collective. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Auckland and a Bachelor of Design Innovation (Industrial Design) from Victoria University Wellington. He also studied art and robotics at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, USA.
Xin Cheng lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She was a co-director of the artist-run space RM in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2007-2012), holds a Master of Fine Arts from Hamburg University of Fine Arts (DE), and currently teaches design at Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland. Cheng works across art, social design and local ecologies. Recent projects include IsLand Bar – Ratava, Taipei Performing Arts Center (Taipei, 2022); A Place for Local Making, Urban Dream Brokerage (Wellington, 2022); Doing Earth, MOM art space (Hamburg, 2022).
Special thanks to Creative NZ for supporting Pyramid Club's programme