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From: armstrong@ntonline.com (gerry armstrong)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: Armstrong's collection
Date: 6 November 1997
Organization: Rapidnet Technologies Internet

On Tue, 28 Oct 1997 07:20:53 +0100, jensting@imaginet.fr (Jens Tingleff) wrote:

>In article <347058a1.51057732@news.snafu.de>, tilman@berlin.snafu.de >(Tilman Hausherr) wrote:
> >> (This info from before the conference)
>> >> Gerry Armstrong is collecting packages of all the food he is eating, and
>> has done this for many years. He takes them home, cleans them, and
>> collects them. His plan is that some day he will put it all on the grass
>> arranged in a symbol, then get up in a balloon and fotograph it, then
>> sell posters of the foto, with one "object" attached.

>He used to live in San Fran, didn't he? Say no More... Actually, I like the
>idea, I just hope he doesn't take it as seriously as the buyers ;-) ;-) ;-)

Well, now that I have been publicly exposed, I suppose a response is warranted, so here goes.

I didn't live in SF, but in Sleepy Hollow and then San Anselmo, both in Marin County, north of and across the Golden Gate Bridge from the City. Having admitted to living in Marin, however, as you say, "Say no more, " could also be said, or probably even go without saying.

I do take it very seriously, in part because it has been so much effort and trouble; and in part because it's so painfully hilarious. Steve Whitlatch, who, unhappily for me at least, has disappeared from ars, and who should, I would vote, be enticed back, perhaps with promises of our better behavior, has seen my Marin trash mountain, and can attest to its majesty.

> > In his bankruptcy case he had to list his assets, and also listed this
>> collection. Scientology wanted to get it (although it has no actual $$
>> value currently)! To explain his point of view, he then took all these
>> "objects" in huge bags inside the court to show the judge.
>> >> Scientology lost and got nothing.

> ROTFLMAO!!!! > > Jens

I started this project in early 1987 shortly after the December, 1986 so- called settlement with my former cult, thinking then that I had the time, space, locational stability and peace to undertake such a project.

I call it my Consumed Consumables Container Collection (R), and the final product a "Consumer's Mandala."(R) Americans are known everywhere as notorious consumers, and this project contains an underlying message of consummate consumerism.

So, within reason and reasonable logistics, every bottle, box, wrapper, tube, bag, dispenser, can and carton of whatever I have consumed, and some of the cups, utensils and other stuff related to my almost all-consuming consumption, I have saved and stored. I clean each object, as Tilman notes; then I sign it, which takes a little time because my signature takes a little time, and I usually date it and indicate where and the commensals with whom its contents were consumed.

I have something over 400 boxes of this stuff, all clean and carefully packed, and I have acquired a commensurate appreciation for the art and technology of the packaging industry. I believe that the various companies represented in the collection, which probably favors breweries and bread makers more than confectioners and caviar canners, may want to participate in the project to promote their products.

Scientology sued me in the bankruptcy court, as Tilman mentioned, seeking to prevent me from discharging my $630,000+ "debt" to the cult resulting from the illegal judgment against me in the California State Court enforcing the illegal "settlement agreement." Basing its case in the US Bankruptcy Court on bogus charges, the organization sought to seize my art, comprising my container collection, as well as my other assets, including some intellectual properties, particularly my formula for the Unified Field.

The cult made a lot of noise in the bankruptcy court about my statements in other legal contexts that my art, including the containers, has considerable commercial value. I argued that although it has such value to me, it couldn't have any commercial value to the cult. Was Scientology, after all, going to have its people lay out my trash on a big lawn in Napa County, rent a hot air balloon, go up in the air and photograph the stuff, create a poster, and market and sell the poster and the trash? Would they really do that for Gerry Armstrong, whom they vilify as a psychotic criminal? Imagine the ads in " Source" and "Impact:" "Get your Gerry Armstrong (TM) Special OT Junk Poster (C) NOW. Prices go up 10% next month."

So I took four big boxes (not bags as Tilman says) of these things to my trial in the bankruptcy case in February, 1996. Initially I ticked off the bankruptcy court judge because I was late, and he started the trial without me. My lateness was caused by a long delay getting these boxes of bottles, cans and other junk through the courtroom metal detector. I had to open the boxes and let the courthouse security people, in somewhat wild-eyed disbelief, paw through everything.

But after a one day trial the judge issued a decision in my favor, my " debt" to the cult was discharged, and I got to keep my trash. For the ARSCC Historical Research Department Investigators, the file is: Scientology v. Armstrong, US Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California (Santa Rosa), Case No. 95-10911 aj. 99 South E Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Alan Jaroslovsky, Judge. Check it out.

My container collecting has gone on longer than many times along the way I had thought it would or wanted it to. I have thought on many occasions that it was time, always perhaps next spring, to complete the project. But Scientology has shown that it will attack and attempt to destroy almost everything I am involved in, so I have delayed the commercial culmination and presentation of the project until the cult's attacks end forever. In the meantime I eat, drink and collect; and some day I will stop.

I just brought back some very cool containers from Germany: beer bottles and coasters, wine bottles, mineral water bottles, etc., and all the miniature salad dressing and cream containers, plastic wine cups, wrappers, stir sticks and other valuable stuff from the Lufthansa flights. I also have some extraordinary eisbein bones, which I was able, only by unwitting forgetfulness, to get through Canadian Customs. Although they are not technically containers they are so closely related to a wonderful meal I consumed in Berlin and so aesthetically pleasing I will give them a special place in the mandala.

All this is really related to the environmental side of my life, and offtopic on ars had Scientology's attempt to seize the collection not made it ontopic. I am also the founder of the Runners Against Trash (RAT) (R), for which Rodale Press gave me its Golden Shoe Award (see Runners World magazine of February, 1995), and the Organization of United Renunciants (OUR) (R), which I see Tilman also mentioned in another post. I will explain this activity shortly.

But the container collection is also fiscally serious because everything I consume, the containers being art, is tax deductible. The more and better I eat, the larger my deductions. Since I don't have much actual capacity, as opposed, for example, to Big Bad Ron (R), I pad my deductables by running a lot so I can consume more. In America, at least, road races are also an amazing source of snack food bags and wrappers and other containers. On the other hand, being, as much as is practical at this time, a renunciant, and having little desire for monetary wealth, I do not obtain tremendous tax advantages from this concept. If a very wealthy person, Bill Gates for example, were to save as art all the containers of everything he consumed, he really could significantly reduce his tax load. Bill would also probably have way more caviar tins in his collection.


Gerry


 

Copyright © Gerry Armstrong - All Rights Reserved.

 

 
 
 

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