The rusty dumpster lay open and waiting, in front of the large Lafayette Square Mansion. The place had caught my eye as it reminded of the haunted mansions from the pulp children’s books of my youth. My young 3 year old sat in the pint sized wagon with his new library books on our way to Lafayette Square Park, as I poked around inside enticed by the idea of strange items and haunted history.
An overwhelming smell of mold and smoke from heavy curtains that stunk of age. A woman’s belongings were scattered among yellow pages, damaged picture frames and nick-knacks…..nothing of interest until I spied the books. Several compelling titles called to me with philosophy and psychology as central themes. I dug deeper into the dumpster and a box fell open with handmade folders spilling out. The brown paper folders held secrets and contained Graphic Art clippings going back to 1922. A mystery would develop that would shift my life into a narrative that was both compelling and completely life shaking.
A week later as the folders began to unravel it’s mystery, a late dumpster diving dig into the same dumpster would discover a deeper aspect to the story. Donning hoodies and flashlights, me and my friend would push aside a week worth of drywall, bathroom fixtures and wood to find a magically significant discovery that would become the basis for the creation of Dumpster Archeology.
Photographing the artifacts and connecting the dots of human existing, this descent into Saint Louis history and the House at 2323 Lafayette avenue became a Storytelling experience. The remaining “things” of a particular person or set of people discovered in a dumpster became the crux in which this madness revolves. What Dumpster Archeology attempts to do is tell our collective story, artistically reflect the beauty of the artifacts and create a Living history. Each link and detail is a piece of a puzzle that ultimately paints a cohesive narrative that is based entirely out of Found Information. In an attempt to mythologize a personal History, one has too simply say that it is … “True Enough“
Like a “Choose your own Adventure” Novel
Each trail is a self contained narrative that adds to the whole.