This. Happy Friday.
Posts Tagged ‘Garblogging’
This week in the garblogoshpere:
- The Temas Blog reports on a Brazilian initiative offering electric bill discounts to people who recycle.
- Last Night’s Garbage sums up summer in New York in a single image;
- Olympia Dumpster Divers turns four;
- Fake Plastic Fish wonders why body wash in plastic bottles is more popular than bar soap;
- Make turns an old organ into an 8 bit synth; and
- Art for Housewives compiles alternative uses for neckties.
In case you missed it, the everydaytrash.com team headed out to Long Island City, Queens yesterday to participate in the interactive installation project “University of Trash” created by Michael Cataldi and Nils Norman. Our contribution was a quick overview of some of the ways we and other garbloggers talk and track trash online followed by an informal conversation about trash and consumer culture. It was a fantastic event. We were very pleased by the supportive turnout (just look at how many people trecked all the way to Queens for everydaytrash.com) and thrilled by the contributions everyone made during the open discussion. We learned a lot. Afterward, many of us headed to the new beer garden on the border of Long Island City and Astoria. We learned a lot there, too.
Here are links to the blogs I shared as well as some of the other resources and inspiration points Victor and I mentioned. Thanks again to all who came. It was great to see you IRL.
There are many ways to approach trash online. Everydaytrash.com is the broadest of garblogs, posts on our site can cover any topic as long as there’s a trash angle. The following are a few examples of other blogs I love that address trash in a variety of ways.
There are people who track their own waste like Sustainable Dave of 365 Days of Trash. Dave’s 365 days are up, but his blog lives on as a wonderful resource for how to create less trash. For example, take a look at the bag he carries everywhere he goes and the tools of waste reduction within.
There is also a whole subgenre of garblogs focused on plastic. My favorite of these is Beth Terry‘s Fake Plastic Fish. Beth covers all kinds of cool plastic topics and at the top of her homepage you can always find a little chart of her monthly plastic use.
And of course, there are trash artists who can take a dull dry topic like solid waste management and make something fun and wonderful out of it. I consider Ruby Re-Usable of Olympia Dumpster Divers and Little Shiva of The Visible Trash Society my closest colleagues in the field of garblogging. Their work constantly inspires me and has consequently inspired a number of everydaytrash.com posts. Sometimes we even collaborate. See also Cynthia Korzekwa‘s Art for Housewives.
In addition to artists making things out of garbage, there are also a few photographing trash in its native habitiat. Last Night’s Garbage is a wonderful blog to add to your reader—emphemeral photos paired with found text are uplodaed a few times a week. I didn’t have a chance to share these at the University of Trash, but Gutter Envy and Garbager also post trash photos.
And then there are the Upcyclers, taking recycling to a new level by finding reuses for objects that may be even better than the first use. Victor and I contribute to an Upcycling portal, which I encourage you to check out. Some of my favorite upcycling examples come from the Etsy Tashion street team. I’ve also been transfixed lately by artist Robert Fontenot‘s Recycle LACMA project.
Beyond upcycling there are blogs that focus on our consumer culture and point up the waste chain to ask if we could produce less stuff in the first place. The unconsumption tumblog run by Rob Walker (of the Times magazine column Consumed) and collaborators is full of interesting nuggets that fall under this theme.
And, of course, there are a ton of amazing DIY blogs that discuss and teach you how to make things yourself to create less waste and reuse scraps and trash. Some of my favorties are Instructables (which allows users to upload their own instructions on how to do and make things), the hip sewing blog Threadbanger, the ReadyMade Magazine blog, and the Make Magazine blog.
Which leads me to the scariest subset of garblogs, the green shopping blogs. I have mixed feelings about these sites becuase they all point to things I WANT and feel I NEED and want to HAVE because they are made out of sustainable products and trash. I try hard not to, but sometimes I look at Great Green Goods (which has a series of great green spinoffs for babies, pets, weddings and more). These sites are good to find trashy and geen substitutes for things you would have bought anyway.
I also love to peruse style sites like the wonderful blog Fabulously Green. But again, it makes me want to shop.
Finally, I want to share a few internaitonal garblogs just to point out that these conversations are taking place all over the world. I absolutely adore the site AfriGadet run by Hash of White African, a blogger and tech guru and several collaborators. The tagline says it all “Solving everyday problems with African ingenuity,” which more often than not involves upcycling.
There are many, many more links I could include here but I think the list is already a bit overwhelming. Let me just throw in some of Victor and my top recommended trash resources.
There’s the amazing animated video on the consumption chain, The Story of Stuff.
There’s the book Skräp by journalist Mattias Hagberg, which is in Swedish so I’ll share the link to his interview with Victor.
And there are the books Garbage Land and Bottlemania and the blog of their author, Elizabeth Royte, primordial guides for anyone who hopes to understand this massive topic.
Thanks again to the Sculpture Center and Michael Cataldi for making this talk possible. We hope to follow up on the dynamic discussion that took place and look forward to more in person everydaytrash.com events.
To keep up to date on all our trashy activities, fan the blog on Facebook and share the link with your friends!
Don’t forget to come see us in Queens tomorrow from 1-3pm at the Sculpture center.
Next Saturday from 1-3pm, us guys truly will be giving a talk and leading an interactive discussion on trash and the Internet at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, Queens.
We hope to see all of you in the NYC area there and promise to post links and highlights after the fact. This event is part of the fabulous University of Trash program curated by Michael Cataldi and Nils Norman.
This week around the garblogosphere:
- Art for Housewives featured some trashtastic shoes;
- Visible Trash shared photos from last month’s End of the Waste World events;
- Olympia Dumpster Divers turned 3 (congrats, Ruby!);
- unconsumption dug up some neat shit;
- Last Night’s Garbage educated us on coconuts;
- Elizabeth Royte turned us on bottled water art;
- 365 Days of Trash highlights the XSProject’s work (might just have to pull that out in a separate post; and
- Treehugger features toxic water bottled by the Yes Men.
If you don’t already, you might consider subscribing to the blogs above.
Today I begin informal training in sound recording from an audio engineer friend. My hope is that in exchange for helping him with some projects, I’ll walk away with the skills to record and edit little interviews, thus putting the Trashtastic back in Tuesdays. Stay tuned and feel free to submit trash cast topic ideas.
Yo. After a wildly successful garblogging retreat, we managed to clean up a bit around here. You may have noticed a drastic reduction in the number of trash categories along the sidebar and the fact that links are no longer bold. Please bear with us as we update the archives—most entries are currently uncategorized so if you’re looking for old posts, search is your best bet for the moment. Side note: while we reconciled many of our asthetic differences, we made no attempts to standardize our English. When I spell correctly, it’s in the American. Vic, as a citizen of the EU feels the need to stick the letter u in unlikely places, among other eccentricities. We feel, and hope you’ll agree, that two voices are better than one.
You know why I loved Decorative Dumpster Day? Because it gave me a festive sense of community and solidarity among garbloggers.Thanks again to all who participated in this international extravaganza. And start collecting decorative dumpster images for next year!
For those who missed the first annual adventure in group blogging about trash receptacles, here’s the roundup. Co-organizer and DDD logo designer Little Shiva was traveling and without solid internet connection on May 1, here’s her late breaking submission à la française.
Hey there, new readers. Everydaytrash.com has had a bit of a growth spurt recently and it occurs to me some of you might be wondering what this site is all about. While we champion happy confusion, here are some bits of historical and autobiographical information for the unsatisfied among you.
- Everydaytrash.com is a blog about the art and politics of the world through the lens of garbage.
- I started everydaytrash back in August of ’06 with a post entitled “This is a blog about trash.“
- I like to make up words. Like “garblogging,” “garblog” and “garblogger”.
- A Short History of Garblogging can be found here.
- Last November, I recruited my friend Victor to write for everydaytrash.com from Stockholm. Last month he moved to Brooklyn.
- Now there are two of us and everydaytrash.com is growing from an extension of my trash-obsessed personality to a multi-voiced conversation about art, power, people, politics and waste.
- We love comments.
- And trash tips. Send us your story ideas!
- We are on Facebook and Twitter.
- We are part of a larger online community, as evidenced by the ever-growing side bar list of Garbloggers and Greenloggers. We encourage you to check them out as well.
“Hi hi” from Oslo. I’m here attending the opening of “Recycling the Looking Glass, Trash Art-Found Objects” a wonderful group show curated by the incomparable Samir M’kadmi. Much, much more will be posted here about the show, the contributors and organizers. At the moment, I’ll throw up a couple photos from the opening seminar and the piece I submitted to the catalog (my talk was basically a longer version of what’s below). Other panalists included a feminist art critic, an economist and an ecologist who uses trash art projects to teach kids about the environment. Two artists also gave talks. Stay tuned for less Leila-centric posts very soon, I have met amazing artists and art world peeps from all over the World this weekend and can’t wait to share the virtual booty with all of you!
A Short History of Garblogging
My obsession with trash began when, as a journalism student in New York City, I started researching the unimaginable number of tax dollars spent each year transferring garbage from my hometown to places as far away as the middle of the country.
New York closed it’s only landfill in 2001 with no immediate plans for what to do with all the trash created by the millions of local residents and businesses. The immediate solution was to export the waste to other states, an expensive venture involving enormous contracts with private waste haulers. Previously, the city had evacuated the majority of its trash on barges pulled by tugboats. This new plan created a billion-dollar-a-year industry and added significantly to the number of trucks circling the already congested city streets.
Not surprisingly, the poorest neighborhoods bore the brunt of these changes. In order for the garbage to be moved long distances, it had to be emptied from local dump trucks and packed up again into larger vehicles. This transfer of trash—a smelly process that attracts rats—continues to take place in several of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
While the story I was writing focused on local politics, my fascination with garbage extended far beyond the United States. I started to see trash as everything from an indicator of poverty to a medium for art. Before long, everyone I knew associated me with trash and when they came across related factoids, I would receive an email. So I started a blog. The Internet seemed to be the perfect outlet for these tidbits and the perfect venue to start a larger conversation.
The wonderful thing about the World Wide Web is that if you have a pet interest, it is easy to locate whole communities of people who share that interest. And so it was for me with trash. Soon after launching everydaytrash.com, over two years ago now, I discovered a universe of other sites dealing with interrelated themes. Because my interest in the subject had grown from local politics, it took me some time to think of everytrash.com as an environmental or “green” blog.
My audience had no such doubts. I quickly realized that the majority of people interested in trash are interested in reducing waste and approach the issue in terms of saving the planet. I came across people keeping track of their own waste online, weighing their garbage each day and trying hard to make less the next. And there were sales sites, marketing niche environmentally-friendly products to those willing to pay a bit more for a clear conscience. There appears to be a huge market out there for reusable tote bags, organic baby clothes and business card holders made from recycled gasoline.
It doesn’t take much exploration into the world of trash to see that, fundamentally, trash is an economic and class issue. Only those less fortunate ever have to worry about what happens to what society discards. The rest of society, on the other hand, sleepwalks through life believing that trash disappears the moment it hits the bottom of a trash can.
Early on in the life of the blog, I became interested in trash pickers, communities of people who go through the trash and find new uses for what others have chucked. In Argentina, China and Egypt and probably many other places, there are words for these people and the practice is associated with very particular ethnic groups. In many other places, people supplement their income by collecting and redeeming cans or hunting for and selling scrap metal. Sifting through the smattering of articles that pop up each year on trash pickers, I am constantly reminded of the wastefulness of the era I live in.
Once you notice trash, it’s hard to ignore. Around the time I was pouring through New York’s solid waste management plans, my job at a public health nonprofit began taking me to Africa. There, I encountered a relationship with material goods entirely foreign to me. Terms like recycling and zero waste have no place in these societies where value and lifespan of any given product are given their full respect. In places where people have very little, these concepts are organic.
I met a roadside tailor in Malawi who spent his days mending the worn clothing of local villagers, squeezing extra days, weeks and months out of the worn fabric. In Uganda, women from the North, an area burdened by enduring violence and high rates of HIV/AIDS, form beads out of old magazine pages that they then shellac to create brightly colored bracelets and necklaces. Women in Kenya collect floating flip flops from the ocean to refashion into crafts to sell; one project has even created a giant whale out of the discarded plastic shoes to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic waste to marine life. Plastic bags in Burkina Faso are twisted into small dolls and sold to tourists. While the African cultures I visited varied dramatically, the unmistakable smell of burning garbage welcomed me the moment I stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac in a new city.
In fact, many of the news articles I read while traveling focused the depletion of Africa’s resources and the threat of disease. The contrast between the joyful and hopeful efforts of the beaders and doll makers and the overall pessimism of news coverage on Africa fed my enthusiasm for blogging. I was glad to have a forum to highlight positive, homegrown responses to seemingly overwhelming problems.
Of course many positive approaches to the subject of trash come from the artistic community. Through everydaytrash.com, I have discovered “trashion” designers who create fantastical outfits from discarded items as well as countless artists who use trash as a dynamic medium with which to create provocative pieces. What I love most about these works is their effortless incorporation of an often dense political topic. Trashtastic!