Over 50 adoptions took place on February 22 on the Tate Student Center Lawn. These adoptions were not of living creatures, but instead the re-homing of discarded objects at Athens Home for Discarded Objects.
“I can’t really say there’s much of a process so much as something here is going to speak to me,” said Corey Klawunder, a University of Georgia student.
The dozens of objects, most in a state of considerable disrepair, were gathered just over a week prior to the event during a collaborative river cleanup.
Kira Hegeman, an artist in residence with the Office of Sustainability, said that WatershedUGA did a river clean up earlier in February at Tanyard Creek and the student club Bag the Bag did a clean up at Barnett Shoals.
Later, WatershedUGA asked her to create a work of art with the intention of creating an emotional link between passersby and objects and provoking more thought regarding waste.
“I think one of the problems with waste and recycling is ‘out of sight, out of mind,’” Hegeman said. “Once it’s gone you don’t think about what happens to it, you don’t think about the life cycle, what it could be turned into, where it came from.”
All the objects, once adopted and given a story, were given an adoption number and placed on a bookshelf at the event to show that they had been not only been reclaimed but given significance by a person, including a name, a history and a future.
“Stories help us connect to things, right?” Hegeman said. “The more people imagine different situations and stories, the more they might imagine new possibilities.”
Jason Perry, a sustainability specialist with the Office of Sustainability, helped set up the art exhibit and provided general support. Although he was not directly involved with the planning of the demonstration, he was impressed with the creativity of students involved.
“I knew this was happening… I had no idea this is what it was going to be looking like,” Perry said.
After thoroughly examining the many objects in front of him and gravitating towards several, Klawunder finally settled on a crumbling stone pedestal that he said “had an ego.”
When asked to devise a story for the object before officially adopting it, Klawunder quickly created its lore and scribbled down the story onto the adoption certificate.
“Obviously, this sat at the apex of Tanyard Creek and held a bust of Jere Morehead himself, lost to the ages long ago, well before he was even born,” Klawunder said.