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WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND: a LOT-EK movie by Thomas Piper

Thu, Mar 28    6:30pm

Screening of the film WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND: a LOT-EK movie. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with film director Thomas Piper together with Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of Lot-EK, moderated by Bart-Jan Polman.

WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND: the LOT-EK movie

If we pay enough attention to the ordinary, we see the extraordinary. The shipping container is an accidental icon of our modern age: the eight-foot-by-forty-foot corrugated steel box that brings the world to our doorstep. It brings all our hearts’ desires’, available for purchase. And it brings us complicity in the global supply chains, and all the economic, ecological, technological, and political systems that forge those chains, as those great container ships link maker and user, buyer and seller, China and America together across the vast distances of the lawless sea. The design studio LOT-EK is a visionary practice at the intersection of art and architecture, that specializes in upcycling, which is the art and science of repurposing, remaking, rethinking, reimagining. Of using old things in new ways. The shipping container is the thing that has captured their imagination for over a quarter-century: they have remade containers into homes, schools, galleries, libraries, and more. With hundreds of millions of obsolete and unused containers around the world, this is a new and necessary architecture of the future, that repairs and regenerates the unnatural environment that we have inherited from the past. WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND is a feature-length documentary of this vision, and of the soulful lifelong partnership of the people, designers Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, behind it.

WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND shows us a way to be radically optimistic, creative, and constructive during times that can feel the opposite of all that. Director Thomas Piper’s acclaimed documentary feature Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf showed how the wild and unfavored plants could encourage audiences to live more responsibly with nature, and now he looks at living more smartly and sweetly with the effects of industry, infrastructure, and technology. Taking us from spark-filled workshops to a container ship sea voyage over a shimmering sea; and explaining all the prosaic and poetic design thinking behind how LOT-EK brings the container to life, the film shows how all we have can become all we need, how resourceful subsistence can feel like beautiful abundance, and how to keep going when we now know there is no such thing as a fresh start. The film is a humanist essay not only about a new kind of design thinking, but about a new design for life.