Performance Artist Makes Transformers out of Trash

Brooklyn performance artist Peter Kokis is making art that is a lot more than meets the eye.

A short documentary titles One Man's Trash was recently released by The Atlantic, which showcases Kokis' "cyborg" costumes that are made out of 100% recycled materials. The 170-pound costumes are worn by Kokis after he completes them, turning the man into what's been compared to a literal Transformer.

“I look for complexity in everyday objects,” Kokis explains in the documentary. “I look at an object and see its potential.”

The documentary is directed by Aaron and Alex Craig, who were surprised by quite a lot while chronicling Kokis' hobby -- including his dedication to the medium.

“It was easily 120 degrees inside his house,” the Craigs told The Atlantic. “We were drenched in sweat while filming, but he was perfectly comfortable. He does it to have his body prepared for heat when he's inside the 170-pound suits.”

“He has even lost relationships because he was given the choice between his robots and his girlfriend, and he chose the robots,” the Craigs added. “She couldn't stand the heat.”

“It opened our minds about how much we, as a community, are wasting,” Alex Craig said. “We might not all be able to make cool robots out of trash, but if we all put our minds together, we can figure out how to repurpose materials that would usually end up in the trash. If you think outside the box, we are capable of much more than we realize.”

This new look at Kokis' costumes is hitting the web at an interesting time, as the Transformers franchise is going through a second sort of renaissance on the big screen. The release of Bumblebee last month proved to be profitable, and could end up kickstarting a new era of Transformers movies.


“Reboot, I always hate that word because, for one, I’m not sure I really understand what it means,” franchise producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura said in a previous interview. “We are going to do another big Transformers movie. It is going to be different than the ones that we’ve done before.”

“It’s not like we look at the elements of what we did before and go, ‘Well, let’s not do this’ or ‘Let’s not do that,’” Di Bonaventura explained. “It’s more about how do you evolve the experience for the fans. Let the fan have a new experience. When we did the first movie, at first there was a lot of pushback that we weren’t doing it the way it was done before," he added. “My feeling was always that if we’d done it, you would’ve gone, ‘Well, I’ve already seen it.’ So how do you evolve things forward is I think the hardest thing because you’ve got to retain why people love it, but at the same time if you give them the same experience, they’re going to be bored with it.”