Though we're mainly interested in functional and well-designed upcycled products here at Trash to Trend, the art world gives us food for thought with its own fascinating way of addressing the problems of production and waste. One such art project is Ni Haifeng's Para-Production, in which the artist reverses the usual process of production.
From Pauline J. Yao's essay on his work:
Piles of shreds, a gigantic piece of sewn cloth, and an array of sewing machines are positioned to create a workshop environment that is not only collective and participatory but moves in opposition to the creation of a constructive product. The remnants of production are embodied within the material volume of the shreds and the presence of the sewing machines utilized to create the oversized hanging that is at once a product of labor and a symbol of futility and uselessness. Here, in the context of social interactions, the concepts of weaving and woven become symbolically tied to visibility and the social dimension of artistic production. Para-Production refers to a mode of making that is related to, yet somewhat outside of, officially sanctioned modes of production, i.e. modes of commercial or industrial production motivated by economic return and profit. There is an element of parody that surrounds the concept of Para-Production, a sense that the sanctioned modes of production are being subverted and undermined in favor of something far less productive. The movement away from the idea of producing the useful, an alternative to the traditionalist capitalist structure is not only presented but actively pursued.
This might not be upcycling in the economic sense, but the artist is indeed adding value to manufacturing leftovers through a process of social collaboration. A side benefit of this project is that awareness is being raised about the quantities of waste leftover and about the often-invisible human element of the production process.