Featured in the Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt in 2006 Jean Luc Cornec's Telephone Sheep were a sensation that swept web. We've decided to revisit this exhibit to open a dialogue on the importance of art, design, and creativity in regards to the green movement. Jean Luc's sheep were constructed of older model rotary telephones and their accompanying cords wrapped around sheep formed under structures. The phone on the cradle strikingly resembles a head in this context with the melted and bent hand piece creating great hooves. In this new environment the out of date phones have taken on an entirely new life due to our shift in perspective. The ability to see materials outside of their traditional roles is key to reducing the mass of products our society currently consumes and reusing that which surrounds us everyday to its maximum potential.
Postured in all the ways you would see sheep on a typical farm Jean Luc has evoked a surreal representation of life using otherwise lifeless forms.
The Museum für Kommunikation focuses on the growth and change of the communications world and exhibits various modes of communication that have existed over the years. Ranging from antique mailboxes, an original Bell telephone, a piece of undersea communications cable, postal stamps and postcards, Jean Luc Cornec's exhibit and more curiosities of this ilk.
I recently had a debate with a friend on the importance of art and design. While on the one hand art can be seen as a form of entertainment and pleasure, which may seem trivial to some, there can be a much more functional element to it as well. Art and design occur from the need to express, communicate, and question the human experience. An exhibit may probe into society's values and practices. Quality art should in the very least make us think.
This may seem like heavy conversation while looking at these playful sheep, but Cornec's piece is a perfect gateway into thought provoking art that makes us shift our view on the function of material. The prevalence of upcycling, repurposing, green design, engineering, and architecture addressing global climate change that we are seeing on a daily basis is the fruit of creative thinking. Work like the Telephone Sheep force us to see new uses and value to otherwise expired products. The importance of art can stretch far beyond entertaining some web surfers or museum patrons. It can spawn in any of us the ability to think with a more malleable mind. Perhaps in even a simple way on a daily basis we can look at common refuse and see further life, another form, continuing function...less waste.
Artists and designers will play an immensely important role in our world as we move forward towards more sustainable ideology. Creativity, along with technology and ethical growth, can produce astounding results towards a more eco-friendly means of existence.