September 10 to November 12, 2011
Potsdamer Str. 97, 10785 Berlin
Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition is pleased to present The Granary (Series) by Dan Peterman:
The Granary Series, 2011
Granary Models made from recycled Plastic Material
Each ca. 36 x 45 x 21 cm
Signed and Numbered Certificate
The form and scale of these granaries mimic ceramic models comes from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). These ceramic models were known as ‚mingqi’ and were originally produced as funerary items intended for the dead to use in the afterlife. Mingqi translates roughly into ‚spirit objects’. They depicted objects used in daily life like stoves, latrines, houses and agricultural buildings. Granaries figured prominently among them as they “guaranteed continued affluence for the deceased in the afterlife.” 1
Two thousand years later, these miniature granaries provoke questions related to contemporary food production systems and food security. We live at a time of increased ecological instability and severe challenges to our ability to sustainably feed a global human population of nearly seven billion. We also live in an age defined by our dependence on petroleum and at an historically significant moment of ‚peak oil,’ where diminishing discoveries of new petroleum sources, and severe consequences of excessive atmospheric carbon emissions pressure us toward new technologies and new strategies for meeting basic needs. It is a compelling moment to contemplate our transition to post-petroleum living and a compelling moment to consider our strategies for feeding everyone who continues to show up at the dinner table.
The Han period is known for innovative modular production methods—ceramic production included. This granary series however, while borrowing from these modular methods, is made of post-consumer plastics. The color variation comes from the random mixing of plastics during its re-manufacture. While following a repeated production template, each granary—as with Han production—is unique in detail. Additionally, much of this plastic is twice recycled having been previously used in a public sculpture Ground Cover, also by Peterman, that continues to function as an open-air public dancefloor in Chicago. Replaced plastic floor boards showing signs of excessive wear—many having been danced upon for 15 years—serve as primary material stock for producing these granaries. This plastic material, recognizable in many of Peterman’s projects, serves as a petro-chemical marker of the peak oil moment we are living in. As with all plastics these objects are capable of spanning centuries, and being unearthed, like ceramic, bronze and stone artifacts, thousands of years in the future—carrying with them a resonant link between a long gone agrarian culture and our current ecological dilemmas.
(1) Quinghua Guo, The Mingqi Pottery Buildings of Han Dynasty China 206 BC – 220 AD, Sussex Academic Press 2010)