Trash

Who would have known our relationship with trash would amass so much interest? Philosophers, artists, journalists and poets give garbage new meaning in this tight collection about the tossed items that are dismissed as irrelevant. Many only view garbage as a growing environmental dilemma; Trash takes one step back from this standard perspective of garbage and examines it artistically, culturally and theoretically. Susan Coolen found paper from the streets of Montreal and turned them into paper airplanes. In the photo essay Sad Chairs by Bill Keagy, the artist photographs the furniture outside of their home environments. Chairs were amusingly caught sitting outside a phone booth or covered in weeds in the backyard. Other photographic essays include Edward Burtynsky’s Recycling that addresses the similarities of recycling facilities in China and Ontario. There’s also Nick Cave the performance artist from Chicago (not the Birthday Party singer) who constructed suits that create noise when in motion. One of the most entertaining contributions in Trash is Dr Strangelove where Kristan Horton recreates the Kubrick film using found items to assemble some memorable scenes from the flick. Think of sharpies and forks in the shape of airplanes, a woven potholder as the army base and of course popcorn kernels as the atom bomb. For days I thought of those perfect little items I throw in the garbage everyday: the bottle caps, the meticulous design of food labels. All manufactured for one use and that’s it. Why is it so perfect and why does it have to be garbage? Barry Allen examines this question in his essay The Ethical Artifact. Trash forces the reader to reinterpret garbage, reinvent trash and see what a waste of beauty it is. (Andrea Nene)

edited by John Knechtel, $15.95, 281 pgs, MIT Press, 55 Hayward St., Cambridge, MA, 02142-1315, mitpress.mit.edu


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