Friday, 30 September 2011

tusken raiders

Seeing an endless succession of horror stories about metal-thievery--primarily through a distant lens to the States but there have been a few incidents in Germany and they are nothing new and novel, I am just left sad and anxious about the infrastructure and institutions destroyed, only to be replaced at a higher cost, and more for the artwork, public and private, at risk. Looking just down the street, I fear that our neighbourhood statuary would not last a minute before it was stripped down if transplanted elsewhere, desperate and listless. People must be pretty frightened if uprooting railroad tracks or melting-down sculptures seem like a productive occupation, and I hope that this sentiment does not spread.
Recycling for the most part has been institutionalized and adjudged its own reward, however, there are still creative avenues for mining mineral wealth: a few months ago, we watched a documentary about a waste-management concern in Germany that is treasure-hunting in vintage land-fills and extracting Wertstoff from old appliances, electronics, household trash, etc. that were thrown away decades ago before recycling was mandatory. I bet they are finding other artifacts more or less intact too. I can imagine that future archeologists might bemoan losing the chance to explore these junkyards and strata but sacrificing that sort of cultural archive is certainly better than losing the monuments and mementos, bronzes and plaques where one lives.