Jan Cleveringa

Imagining the Past Before it Happens, 2018

5,000 discarded fluorescent light globes, sensors, LEDs, sound/speaker, tape
Dimensions variable

Jan Cleveringa

Image: Keith Maxwell

Imagining the Past Before It happens is an ironic art installation about sustainability, waste and prophetic hindsight regarding the culture of business.

Five-thousand functional but discarded fluorescent light globes are reimagined in the Jurassic Rainforest. They are lit up by the artist with LED lighting that is replacing them and the sound of breaking globes can be heard when audiences trigger sensors.


If the artist did not reimagine these thousands of discarded, yet perfectly working and reusable bulbs, they would likely be crushed and destroyed. With each tube currently worth $7 each at the hardware store and having 5,000 tubes utilized here, it is waste worth $35,000. This, perhaps, highlights a false attitude in society that progress is completely ‘future thinking’. Perhaps, we can think more about oversupply, overproducing and secondary planned purposing of waste in future design.

It seems decisions in our current culture are made for the short term and based on profit and what’s easy, saving money, cutting losses or politicking. However, the artist believes that waste can be reused, reimagined, or pre-designed into something useful or aesthetic before creation as part of intelligible forward planning. It’s a more holistic way of looking at progress and in this way, waste can become attractive, interesting or even profitable.