ReLocalization is the idea that discarded matter becomes an instantaneously local raw material. This is the ending of one life cycle and the beginning of another.
This is the tradition of the material as a typography. Stone, Iron Ore, Timber, Hide, Hemp all started somewhere else, and through time, either quick or slowly, landed where it was and metamorphosed into the raw that it was sourced as.
We started to find materials that could manually locate, grow quicker and quicker or were more plentiful, Pine, Cotton, Leather, Concrete etc, until a time where we took ‘sourcing’/‘locating’ in house when we started to use science to make brand new materials. Plastics, Neoprene, Laminate Wood. This offered a much more measured and efficient. means of producing goods.
The main issue with the specialization of manual ‘locating’ is the end run. Reusing stone is simple. Sending timber down from a beam into a chair is simple. How do you reuse a toy car? How do you reuse a peed on mattress? You don’t. We bury our materials. Not only that, we seal it up. This is not honoring the planet.
To breathe is to live.
What is a man without a purpose? What is a material without a use? Wood can decompose in human time, stone sands down, leather drys and crumbles. What of plastic? What of Poly-Textile? It wants to breathe.
We do have recycling systems in place, but the scale and rigidity of the system still sees many many items deemed unworthy of passing onto its next life. The. You couple that with the humans penchant for littering and simply making things disappear, and you end up boxing in all this potential in the ground.
So what am I getting at? The present is composite. The present is trash. The Culture is trash. The Kroger bag stuck on a fence is a Gold Rush. (Did you know before we knew how to use metals it was simply strewn about on the ground?)
Material also speaks of place. Look at almost any city and it’s history. It is either built on trade or it has access or resources to make material out of raw.
Material is the foundation of Culture.
Charlotte, like many places grew up with in part with a robust textile industry. This provides jobs, living patterns, subsequent businesses such as lawyers, teachers, architects.
There didn’t use it be folly in building a society on one foundation. But as we saw in the 70s, 80s through now, industrial cities begin to suffer once you are able to effectively dissociate a material with its source, or the source runs out.
We became so good at specialization and shipping and travel, that there is no need for production to take place in any place that is more expensive than another place.
This isn’t good or bad, but what happens to the culture that was built off these foundations. And culture runs deep. Just think of the mere language that emerges from materials (coping being a carpentry and mental health term). With culture being tied to the foundation, it can exist for a bit calling back to better times. How long will Pittsburgh keep being known as the Steel City?
Sure we as Americans don’t really produce things like we used to, but we sure do use them. And we are still tied to physical place, as much as the internet has broken up the monopoly IRL had on place in total. And once we use them, we discard them. Culture is staring us in the face but we’re too deluded with the past, art and shame to recognize the wealth of culture that is Trash.
Imagine a new local, a re-local. Just as we are moving back into cities, we are re-localizing. Beer, Art, Cuisine. I had a thought the other day; imagine a 1800s Chinese restaurant. The sheer novelty of eating like they do in a country I’ve never seen or heard anything about! Imagine now; a Charlotte restaurant serving only Charlotte based fare. As a local resident I wouldn’t even really know what that means outside of the meme that is Carolina BBQ.
Perhaps there is a pendulum in the dialect between local and global. Maybe nationalism doesn’t have to be a conservative move. But rather a pushing forward of the traditions we have always held; establishing foundations and letting culture flourish on top.
Trash is our foundation.