Waste Materials Research

REBOOT Laboratory

Celeste Ivory granulating plastic at REBOOT Laboratory Waste HDPE plastic that has been turned into rectangular dimensional material A child uses a REBOOT device for turning waste plastic into filament Vistors to the exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History Collaborator Matt Jeffs talks with a visitor at the ACCelerate Festival A planter made from waste HDPE containers A slab of material formed from waste LDPE grocery bags Solid rods of HDPE created from waste HDPE containers Seed starters created by vacuum forming LDPE grocery bags Roofing tiles made by molding LDPE grocery bags

REBOOT Laboratory is a creative research studio I created to work with invited collaborators, creating works of art and critical design utilizing waste materials. Since building out the physical workspace for the REBOOT Laboratory, I have worked with artists, designers, engineers, and student researchers to design novel tools and processes for working with waste plastic. We have also reproduced several machines designed and documented by others, all in the service of being able to create works of art and design that use this specific waste material in intentional and critical ways.

In one project, I worked with visiting designer Matt Jeffs and graduate student Celeste Ivory to design and prototype a set of tools for growing plants – an authentic act of creation on the part of its user that contrasts with the acts of consumption that were required for us to produce the tools. Working with graduate student researcher Collin Huse, I developed a practical application for a low-tech molding process we created together. Our experimentation resulted in making roofing shingles from discarded grocery bags while maintaining the bags’ commercial and corporate aesthetic elements as a reminder of the material’s history. In 2023, I will work with FAMU-FSU College of Engineering faculty as a co-PI on a grant from the EPA. In this project, I will organize activities with young people that aim to change their understanding of the value of waste materials through art-making using demolition waste.

We exhibited REBOOT projects in the ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 2017. The authors of THE LAB BOOK (University of Minnesota Press) interviewed me about REBOOT Laboratory. I gave a presentation about the lab at the 13th International Conference on The Arts in Society in 2018. Most recently, I presented at the 2023 R:CADE Symposium on the theme of “Repair.”