Curbing Entropy - Cambodia Exhibition

by John K. Melvin


I have been invited to be the artist in residence at the 1961 Art Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  I will produce artworks, workshops, and community actions that upcycle materials from landfill, highlight the issue of plastic pollution in Cambodia, and contribute to the local economy. The 1961 Art Hotel has been and continues to be incredibly generous, and I am eternally grateful for our continued collaboration.  I've launched this fundraising project to enable you to participate in my passion for contemporary art and environmental awareness.  The exhibition will be heavily broadcasted on social media, and I believe firmly that this exhibition will contribute to global action towards zero waste.  

Your support of this exhibition will not only contribute to the Cambodian economy but will also help in spreading the message about plastic pollution.  If we do nothing, then by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  The health effects to all species from plastic pollution is deadly serious, and is already evidenced by increases in cancer and decreases in fertility.  We believe, myself, the many NGO's, and others I work with on this subject, we believe, that recycling plastic is not enough, in fact, we need to stop our single-use consumption immediately.  

Support of this project will enable my continued work in Cambodia with World Monuments Fund, Plastic Free Cambodia, and many more NGO's and social enterprises concerned with pollution in Cambodia and the world.  In fact, I have already partnered with Plastic Free Cambodia for a community clean up, and I am scheduling additional actions.  The plastic procured from these clean-ups will be used directly in the show.  At the end of the exhibition, if the works are not sold, then the plastic will be responsibly recycled.  Furthermore, I am already collaborating with several institutions, galleries, music festivals, and venues, for continuing this exhibition theme annually up thru 2019.  In short, this exhibition is the first of many that I plan to organize in Cambodia utilizing the synergy between contemporary art and environmental awareness. 

As the economic climate in Cambodia is radically different then the western world, a small budget can have tremendous impact on the local economy.  A minimum of $400 covers my living and about $600 in travel expenses for two months.  I am hoping to produce a plastic shredding machine in the gallery for about $500 to demonstrate creative end-use of plastic waste instead of recycling.  $300 would help the gallery cover their expenses for two months.  Then there is about $400 that I expect to spend on digital printing of several large format photos. These will be done outside the gallery and will support the local economy in Siem Reap.  The remainder is for consumables required to make the sculptures.  

In summary, funding from the outside world would communicate to Cambodia and the world, that we care about contemporary art, that we believe art can have a positive affect, that we care about plastic pollution, and that we recognize pollution as a global problem.  Please consider helping this exhibition achieve its goal of educating and inspiring Cambodians and all of us to think different about plastic through the experience of contemporary art.    

Thank you for your time, your support, and your courage.  


    • February 25, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      My campaign manager just informed me that the matching funds has been exhausted! But you can still support this project! Thank you all for what you do!

    • February 25, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      Wow! Thank you internet! Only $500 to go to achieving the minimum goal ensuring the funds! Thank you one and all who made the difference! I'm in your gratitude as always! Smiling love.

    • February 20, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      Yes! Thank you to all who have supported so far! We are at 38% and still going! I do believe that projects like this are shifting the global conversation forward in the light of so many regressive trends. We can do this! Thank you!!

    • February 18, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      30% in just the first few days! Thank you supporters! You are leading the way! Please consider sharing this project with others so they too can help!! Thank you!!

    • February 16, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      See here my blog entries on the subject of plastic and the environment. Lots of detail to this issue!!

    • February 15, 2017 John K. Melvin Artist

      Wow! $575 raised right out of the bag! A big thanks to the first two supporters!