I met Scott Jordan at the Columbia University flea market. He calls himself a “digger,” and he looks for urban artifacts on lots set for redevelopment, in old wells and in landfills. His stand caught my eye amidst the other generic stalls because it made a connection between consumerism and the city around us. Turn an object upside down and he has written about where it came from. On his website he writes, “For over 20 years, I have turned the discards of New York City into artifact art which expresses my passion for Gotham’s history.”
It made me think about the life-cycle of our everyday objects. This may be what prompted me to start Craigslisting and Ebay-ing some of my old things. Someone out there even wanted my old cell phone charger. There are many “silent” aspects to the city–the fact that our garbage gets trucked hundreds of miles to other states, the fact that the Fresh Kills landfill is being covered and transformed into a park. But when we no longer have visible symbols of our wastefulness, will we be more willing to discard and pollute? For now thanks to Scott Jordan, these discarded objects get revived and transformed into pieces of art.
You can find him on Sundays at the Greenflea Market on Columbus Avenue and 77th St. and Thursdays at Columbia University