La Plus Belle Poubelle / Economy of Means in a Mean Economy
Doug and Chris Fitch, assisted by three local artists – Jeormie Journell, James Marks, and Julie Glass, created an alternate Nature — one made to express the nature of waste. La Plus Belle Poubelle revealed that Art can be an “economy of means in a mean economy” with a 95% post-consumer content recycled landscape created for our mainspace from August 24 through October 20, 2012.
“La Plus Belle Poubelle / Economy of Means in a Mean Economy” refers to the esthetic potential of discarded objects. In this economy, trash is not only a valuable resource, but there is real beauty to be found in it, as well.
La Plus Belle Poubelle originally was the name of a two-man junk band created by the Fitch brothers – while living in France as teenagers – from materials found in a dumpster. This time they are constructing a “natural” landscape inside a building – artspace. This world within a world will be made from junk. By bringing objects whose original function has been deemed obsolete intoartspace, they are inviting viewers to think about how society “digests” the things it consumes.
Doug and Chris Fitch explain, “Humans transform nature’s resources into things we consider useful then we discard them once their usefulness no longer holds any currency.” Their work causes the viewer to ask… Is this a waste of nature? What is the nature of waste? What does it mean to make a landscape out of junk – is it a reflection of our time? What happens to nature when it is replaced with refuse? What then becomes the nature of nature?”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS: DOUG AND CHRIS FITCH
Doug and Chris Fitch did most of their growing up in rural Connecticut, where there was enough free time to allow not only the establishment of a travelling family puppet theater, but also basement science experiments, experimental gardening, and a fife, jug and bottle band. The original “La Plus Belle Poubelle” was created as a two-man street-performance junk band that the two brothers built when living for a while in France as teenagers. The materials for the instruments all came out of one particularly well-stocked dumpster — or poubelle, in French — which they came across one day, thus dubbed la plus belle (the most beautiful) poubelle.
Both brothers developed an appreciation for folk ingenuity, having grown up around farmers (one of whom had built his own airplane which he flew in and out of his hay field), spending much time building puppets, and later, finding inspiration from various travels to the third world where innovation is a requirement for survival. They built and ran a tree house bed-and-breakfast inn in the Philippines for a while until it blew away in a typhoon.
Back in Boston they ran a so-called “emergency amusement” business that specialized in absurdist performance art and installations. Typical projects included staging shark attacks in
fancy restaurants, installing a three-foot mechanical fly that exploded through a wall and raced around above the heads of nightclub-goers, and events that involved things like radio-controlled cacti, Amish-inspired characters sawing themselves out of giant eggs, and food descending from high-ceilinged rooms to serve to unsuspecting diners. They also wrote and illustrated a children’s book together called The Two Foodies, inspired by their own culinary adventures in different parts of the world.
Recently they have found themselves working together again on puppetry-related projects and sculptural installations. Produced by the newly formed production company Giants Are Small, they created a new interpretation of Peter and the Wolf for the Los Angeles Philharmonic that included hundreds of small paper puppets filmed live and projected over the musicians at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This led to another performance using this technique of “live animation” at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic, directed by Doug, called Le Grand Macabre and which was voted “the best Classical Event of the Season” by both the New York Times and the New York Magazine. Independently, they continue to make iconoclastic work that ranges from food to architecture, to sculpture, puppetry, industrial design, and invention.