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A Rubbish Idea: The Material Dump, or Casting Trash Talk into a new Light

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clifton EversORCiD


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Inspired by the trash-art creations of artists such as Tim Noble and Sue Webster, this creative article-assemblage was gathered together over several months by the UNNC Litter Lovers collective. The aleatoric article attempts to provocatively explore alternative ways of thinking about (or with) trash, modern life and recycling. The article is formed by found, chanced upon, and recycled fragments of used cultural material, at times united by original-organic discussions and catalytic ideas, but ultimately demands the intellectual light of the reader to cast the concepts into relief. The collective utilises form and content to generate new ways of seeing and thinking about waste and rubbish, and like the actual trash heaps and trash-art that inspired this work, they attempt to show how matter itself and (used) material is not inert and passive but rather vibrant, expressive and alive: boasting productive powers and forces capable of bringing about unforeseen reactions and new forms of synthesis. The article is designed to ignite new processes within, between, across and ‘below’ the chaotically assembled fragments. The piece is in part motivated by a drive to ethically recycle in an inspiring and creative way, and be part of new things emerging out of the old. This alternative intellectual happening is also in part designed to help people ‘clean’ their collective conscience and learn to 'love rubbish.' We hope that this is in part achieved by de-centering the human, and foregrounding a polysemous concept of the material dump that forces readers to reinterrogate everyday (non-thought) notions of waste, nature, (human) resources, thought and art.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fleming D, Hernandez L, Tillotson J, Evers C, White A, Martin P, Mooney M, Willcock K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trash Culture Journal

Year: 2013

Volume: 1

Issue: 1

Pages: 4-14

Print publication date: 01/08/2013