Percolator

2016

      Coffee Arabica plants, steel dumpster, hydroponic system, casters, wood, lexan, two way mirror, chain. Approximately 6 feet wide x 6 1/2 feet tall x 12 feet deep.

An upended dumpster, its expected contents conspicuously missing. Replacing the typical detritus of everyday life is a hydroponics system purpose built to grow coffee arabica plants. The weather and repurposed dumpster is not only a means of growing and incubation, but as an exercise in absurdity acknowledging the enormous amounts of energy and waste associated with the coffee industry. The plants themselves are protected from the outside but also alienated by this "sanctuary". Arabica plants were chosen for their culturally generated relationship to global trade networks and waste economies. Beans from mature plants travel thousands of miles from their tropical places of origin, going through many processing stages leading to a one-time brewing followed by disposal. This use of the beans denies their biological purposes as the progeny of coffee trees. The hydroponic system supports the plants through intermittent watering with a nutrient solution partially derived from percolated "worm tea". The worm castings come from a composter which processes used coffee grounds after brewing. Using the coffee waste as a means of fertilizing the next generation of plants creates an absurd closed loop system driven by the overwhelming societal drive to consume this resource.