San Francisco Dump: Guarding the Garbage

Each year The San Francisco Sanitary Fill Company (dumb) provides selected local artists with the opportunity to create art using materials they gather from San Francisco’s refuse.

Work created as part of the artist residency in 2004.

As I watched I began to notice how certain paths of the site where more frequently traveled than others. People walked nearly the same footsteps as someone else had only minutes ago. I began studying these paths of travel with my camera. As I studied I became interested in how the travelers of these grounds, both the public and the employees, interacted with each other. I then began recording the activities that took place in a given space over the course of a given period of time. For example in each space of interest I recorded the interactions of the individuals with a series of still photographs while never advancing the film in my camera. This enabled me to condense periods of time anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour into one square frame while capturing moments within these traveled paths where one had stood and another had passed by, often times brushing up against his arm, looking into her eyes or sharing an exchange of words.

Often the camera serves as a tool used for recording moments we want to remember or events we want to share with others unable to attend. But In the work that I created at the San Francisco Sanitary Fill Co, my camera provided us with something that our eye can not perceive, it provided us with the build up of time and space in a format we can see in a single still image.

~ John Trefethen

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