MODERN LIFE Q&A - Christoph Ziegler
WE ASKED THE DESIGNERS IN OUR MODERN LIFE EXHIBITION WHAT THE CONCEPT MEANS TO THEM...
Christoph Ziegler is a German artist working from Athens utilising beach plastic as well as other throwaway items which he collects on his travels. He transforms them into wearable totems and talismans referencing animistic prehistoric and tribal jewellery, but instead of animal hair, teeth and shells he uses broom bristles, broken toys and household objects. As Christoph puts it "Today's Trash is Tomorrow's Gold" making us consider what we are throwing away in our current epidemic of blind consumption.
MODERN LIFE; CHRISTOPH ZIEGLER
What are your New Year’s Revolutions?
No revolutions – evolution! Not that I am saying that a revolution in some sense should take place on a political and social level, but in respect of my personal work, I would say that despite the fact that impatience often rules the way I design a jewellery piece, I am learning to take the long way regarding the investment of time, energy and creativity to thoroughly understand the medium jewellery.
What music do you listen to whilst working?
I listen to myself and the thoughts and associations which come up during the process of assembling a jewelry piece. The prefab shapes and found materials tell their own story if you listen closely.
How does your environment inspire you?
My work is about the material and its afterlife once it has become waste, so it is on the first glance more about a concept than a connection to the environment. But if I look closer, the work I do is tightly connected to the environment, especially the urban environment where I find the bits and parts that make up each of my jewelry pieces. Streets, places, parks, beaches are full of traces of our plastic culture - they become the "gold mines" for my material exploitation.
How do the materials that you choose tell your story?
The material I use – plastic – represents the culture of consumerism – buy, use, throw away.
My comforter, my stroller, my toothbrush, Lego, Playmobil – even now my credit card is made of plastic. The bits and parts I find in the waste remind me on something I know by heart; the household articles, the broken plastic objects, the coloured tiny synthetic pieces are all familiar, they tell their story about their life in the nursery, the bathroom, the kitchen - on their journey from the warehouse to the dustbin. It‘s a lot of fun to let these objects talk again in a piece of jewellery.
Are there any other materials that you would like to use?
Coming back to the environment, because I spend most of my time in Greece, not only in the capital Athens, but also on the countryside where plastic waste is rare (www.leaveyourcrisis.com). Against all my resistance to "natural" materials like wood or stone, I am tempted to use this biological and sedimental waste in the future.
Who is your biggest influence and inspiration?
Peter Chang. My partner Loukia Richards
What is the best thing about Modern Life?
(If we are still "Modern") The promise that you may live a hundred and fifty years not too far in the future, and that these years will be filled with wellness, entertainment and the luxury of having at least four (working) credit cards. Plus, that your personal genetic pin code gives you control over the automatic light switches at home.
What is the worst thing about Modern Life?
That it may also lead to ignorance, war and life-long boredom.
Modern Life is……?
A thing of the past if we want to keep the ball turning.
See Christoph's work now at:
"A NEW YEAR'S REVOLUTION "
at GILL WING JEWELLERY
until 28th February