Erling Hope is a multi-media maker of things and experience-technician. For over thirty years, he has been exploring the influence of objects, images, and the built environment on aesthetic and religious sensibility. He has invented new building materials and developed new collaborative processes for orchestrating group artistic output and ornamental design motîfs. Current projects include culture jamming the Conspiracy Industrial Complex, re-complicating consumer culture, and hard-hacking the love jones.
There is no such thing as "green design". There is only design. There is no such thing as "fair trade". There is only trade: Anything else is a form of theft. Any aesthetic that fails to account for socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes, any design process that fails to incorporate green materials and methods, is inherently flawed and aesthetically corrupt.
In the past, we thought in terms of form vs function. Today, we must speak of form, function, and fairness. Does our use of materials embody a fair and just deployment of resources and regard for the labor of our fellow humans? Does it enact a sustainable practice? How we make things expresses our values, and history will judge us by how we navigate this moment.
In my studio, we use only sustainably harvested or reclaimed hardwoods. Much of our material, such as locust, white oak, sassafras and mountain laurel, is harvested from die-back in local woodlands and cured in our facilities.
Engineered materials featured in our proprietary products are manufactured from scrap branches which were simply piled high and burned in previous decades, and fast-growing saplings. Plantations of these juvenile trees convert more greenhouse gasses than mature forests or longer-cycle tree farms.
Finishing materials are Greenguard certified with minimal VOC’s.
These practices, along with minimal sub-5% waste practices, LED and natural lighting, natural gas 95% efficient radiant heating throughout our facility, allows us to brashly claim that there are few greener fabricators at any scale.
Over the past couple decades, Erling has been exploring the contested and complex terrain that sits between the arts and religion in contemporary US cultural life. He has been doing this through a mix of writings, presentations and performances, workshops and projects. A selection of these is described below:
Prophetic Burden: Scriptural Traditions in Contemporary Performance Art