Concept Exhibition of Wasted Daily-use Ceramics from Chaozhou, China
失体 — 中国潮洲日用废瓷再生实验
WRECK, the destruction of decorum, the ruin of culture.
BENTU went deep into daily-use ceramics industry in Chaozhou, China, and tried to reveal the disintegration of culture behind this ancient city with huge industrial capacity and commercial value by exhibiting experimental furniture and installation, trying to reshape both the material and decorum.
We keep on moving along the way to explore whether there are more possibilities. In the spirit of curiosity about the world and material concern for “universal equality”, can we imagine bringing this renewable and sustainable material back to daily life, creating a new application, a new aesthetic, a new form of visual art? “In the face of the unknown, always curious.”
Chaozhou supplies 70% of the total daily-use ceramic commodity for the world, becoming the world's largest daily-use ceramics production base.
Under the sweeping wave of globalization, ceramic industry connects Chaozhou with the world in an unprecedentedly close way. When the unstoppable process of modernization breaks down the traditional social order, the neat and orderly-planed old towns rapidly disappear, as well as the traditional rural culture that rooted in consanguinity.
The rapid development has brought here more than that. Under the stimulation of globalization, the traditional ceramic industry is abnormally expanding. On the one hand, as demand stimulates enormous production, ceramic enterprises are springing up, occupying a large number of local workers and attracting a large number of migrant rural people to come and work. The reorganization of internal social relation also awakens the individual consciousness of younger generation. For those countless individuals bonded in this huge industrial chain, how is struggle or desire like in such flood? Between past and present, the native and the migrant, how will people live on this land find the value of self-existence in the new era with fluid changes?
On the other hand, the ceramic enterprises keep repeating the traditional production mode with high waste rate, as the familism in this small region has resulted in conservative convergence. Along with the economic globalization, manufacturing industry moves to the area with lower labor cost, so Chaozhou becomes the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for numerous western enterprises, which exacerbates the increase of waste products counts. A recycling plant in Chao’an, a small in Chaozhou, recovers 1000 tons of waste ceramics per year. This is not only a cross section of ceramics industry in Chaozhou, but also the aftereffect of uneven global economic development.
It is ironic that, the ban issued by the Chinese government, about no longer receiving 24 types of imported solid waste such as plastics, waste paper, waste slag, waste textiles, abandoned slag, etc, officially took effect from January 2018. As a result, half of the world's “foreign garbage” needs another way out. However, in reality, garbage from home and abroad is still being dumped on this land in various forms of waste.
Chaozhou Ancient City
Under the sweeping wave of globalization, the neat and orderly-planed old towns rapidly disappear, as well as the traditional rural culture that rooted in consanguinity. accompanied by the breaking of patterns, the influx of population and the mild growth of city.
Chaozhou daily-use ceramics industry
Chaozhou daily-use ceramics industry is composed of various small family workshops taking the family as the tie and enterprises under perfect management suitable for large-scale production, but small-scale family workshops often lack a complete production system, low in technical content, pollution prevention and control level, resulting in problems such as rise of overcapacity waste rate and immaturity of recovery system. Wasted ceramics are usually dumped in the wilderness so as to affect the natural ecology.
Chaozhou supplies 70% of the total daily-use ceramic commodity for the world, becoming the world's largest daily-use ceramics production base, it is hard to imagine the number of wasted ceramics behind the production!
Waste porcelain crushing plant
A recycling plant in Chao’an recovers 1000 tons of waste ceramics per year. This is not only a cross section of ceramics industry in Chaozhou, but also the aftereffect of uneven global economic development. These is the garbage of China as well as the world.
In the form of art installation and experimental furniture, we try to convey to the society the fragmentation and disintegration behind the huge industry, reveal the social and environmental problems facing the society, i.e. the non-biodegradable wasted daily-use ceramics is discarded and buried, and explore the possibility of the combination of wasted daily-use ceramics and concrete from the point of view of material science.
Shenzhen Design Week X WRECK
As an important part of the experiment, BENTU teamed up with Shenzhen Design Week, the exhibition activity supported by Shenzhen Municipal People's Government, and curated the “WRECK -- Concept Exhibition of Wasted Daily-use Ceramics from Chaozhou, China”, which ended on April 20 in Shenzhen. The exhibition site consisted of the experimental furniture and a 7-meter-long artistic installation stacked with ceramic waste collected from Chaozhou daily-use ceramic factories. With video and intro, he audiences were exposed to direct view of world’s largest ceramic industry base as well as the wrecked culture and decorum behind tremendous capacity and commercial value.
Communication and interaction with the public come from various walks of life through the concept exhibition was a pleasing result of our experiment, and hopefully a foreseeable start of restoring social order. Including social elite, school students even common people, the public with their surprise, question, advise and encouragement was the one who broke down the already fragile fact then turned it into sharper point of view. The moment people touched the ceramic pieces or slightly adjusted the exhibits, thoughts and emotions provoked were flowing in a much finer form among them, and we believe that these tiny thoughts and emotions will eventually converge and be powerful enough to affect the social reality.
In the Wreck Experiment, we managed to carry out a different attempt: change the way of placing porcelain aggregate so as to improve the utilization of porcelain wastes and production speed and develop the possibility of assembled furniture with both artistics and practicable features. As designers, can we reshape both the material and decorum in this unbalanced reality?
Broken daily-use ceramics and concrete are mixed and congeal, and formed after cutting and grinding, with the fixture and furniture as the carrier. We explore the appropriate proportion of ceramics in the basic form and splice them with a simple flat plate structure, and discuss how to make the wasted daily-use ceramics return to people’s daily life and the principle of life in a simple structural form。
Since 2015, the government has encouraged and supported the exhibition industry in the areas of finance, taxation, talent and land successively. As a result, exhibition activities tend to be popular, public welfare based and pluralistic, with high propagation and more people covered.
From the elite and senior intellectuals to the general public, from the single industry to all walks of life, and from ignorance and curiosity to the spread of thought, we regard every link as a piece of cultural fragment.
Bentu hope that we can realize cognition popularization from top to bottom, experience transmission from inside to outside, value penetration from the easy to the difficult. Only by magnifying the sharpness of each piece of “fragment” can the “decorum” be truly reshaped.