Archive for July, 2010

Deuces Wild Chair

Saturday, July 31, 2010

You know how in movies set in Vegas the dealers are forever opening new decks of cards? Well, that happens in real life, too. And one resourceful designer thought of a clever way to reuse those cards: as the building material for a chair. Benjamin Rollins Caldwell and colleagues at BRC designs created the “Deuces Wild Chair.” It comes in two colors: red cards and blue cards. One question remains: how much does something like this cost? To view the company’s price list you have to register as a store. I’ll try calling when I have a moment. In the meantime, if you find out, spill!

Deuces Wild Chair from BRC Designs

via Greenopolis

Conscious Cycle on Roosevelt Island

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Roosevelt Island sure is a trash-conscious part of town. Earlier this year I went to check out their trash tubes. Now the island is host to a trashtastic artsy event where people gather old wood, build a wall and decorate it. Please send photos if you go!

via nonsensenyc:

Conscious Cycle is a filmed interactive art event that brings artists and community members together in an effort to explore, educate, and learn about Conscious living and life’s Cyclical nature.

Conscious Cycle consists of the following: We reclaim discarded wood, build a wall out of it and invite artists to paint the wall, one after the other, while being filmed for a time-lapse movie. Mural themes revolve around Consciousness and Cycles. Throughout the event DJs play music, dancers perform, internal artists like yogis and tai chi practitioners teach and demonstrate, artists collaborate, and community members are encouraged to interact with the materials and us.

Three years old, this 8th Conscious Cycle goes down on Roosevelt Island this Saturday and Sunday.  It’ll be full of conscious good times, suitable for all ages and it’s free.  Please join in and explore your creativity.  Plus we like to dance and the music is always great, come get down to the sights and sounds.

Conscious Cycle has been creating their interactive art environment at Figment on Governors Island since 2008, and they are excited to bring their vibe to another island! Come join us for another live painting event this Saturday and Sunday. We’ll have bucket and spray paint. You bring your specific supplies. Let’s make more art.

Roosevelt Island
Right behind the F train stop
Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1
12-5p both days; $free

Junk to Funk

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wow, it’s tipster day. Amy just sent these photos from  a Junk to Funk display at the Portland airport. Thanks, Amy!

Junk to Funk

Dress made from recycled blinds

Dress made from recycled coffee filters

Dress made from recycled yogurt spoons

I can’t decide which is my favorite dress. I can say that airports are one of my favorite places to see art. More airports should fight layover lameness with public art.

Cleanest park ever

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artist Paul Lloyd Sargent just dropped a note to share this amusing anecdote. In short: while collecting trash around Brooklyn Bridge Park for a new art project, he encountered some competition…from THREE separate groups cleaning up Brooklyn Bridge Park.


You may remember Paul from his trash rivers project last summer. Thanks for the link, Paul. We’re looking forward to updates on your future work.

More on Brazilian film Waste Land

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good news. If you didn’t have a chance to catch Lixo extraordinário (Waste Land) or weren’t in New York the one day it was playing last week at MoMA, you may soon have another opportunity. The documentary is scheduled for wide release in October. This description from the Huffington Post makes me even more eager to catch it when it comes to town for real.

via Huffington Post

The most poignant film in [MoMA’s Premiere Brazil film] festival is Waste Land, which documents the Brazilian artist Vick Muniz as he works collaboratively with catadores (garbage pickers) in Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill, located in Rio de Janeiro. Muniz works with the catadores to produce large scale portraits of the workers. The portraits are composed of the recyclable materials they collect over a three year period. The images are later auctioned and the proceeds go to the workers and the organization that advocates on their behalf.

The journey of their process goes far beyond the traditional scenarios of victims and saviors,Waste Land chronicles the emotional evolution of all the people involved but also challenges the viewer’s perception of their own community, class, and consumption.

Cassette Houses

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adorable. via Boing Boing via unconsumption

Spotted in Belgium

Customer service

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In an opinion piece on food trash, published by the  Stockholm Consumer Cooperative Society, some interesting facts about wasted food are presented. The figures are based on a Swedish study, implying that it is relevant in other western consumer cultures. 50% of the overfeeding of lake- and seawater in Sweden is created by the food industry. At the same time, 40-50% of the global total amount of produced food is wasted. Spooky connection.

According to the piece, what is needed is regulation that improves people’s ability to refrain from throwing out so much that was supposed to be eaten. The solution, according to the writer, is in more efficient cooling, packaging and logistics, to name a few examples.

While these are all excellent ideas, I would hazard a guess that regulation holds little power against changing people’s mindset on what’s foul and what’s edible. The food industry obviously has an interest in selling more food, i.e. their incentive to inform customers that they indeed can eat a “wasted” tomato is small. If they had a change of heart for the greater good, I’d be happier buying their food.

Weekly compactor: blogroll edition

Monday, July 26, 2010

This week in the garblogoshpere:

Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste

Monday, July 26, 2010

This intriguing CALL FOR ACADEMIC TRASH is making its way around the internets…


We are inviting academic editorial contributors to a new reference work on consumption and waste, or the social science of garbage.

Archaeologists and anthropologists have long studied artifacts of refuse from the distant past as a portal into ancient civilizations, but examining what we throw away today tells a story in real time and becomes an important and useful tool for academic study. Trash is studied by behavioral scientists who use data compiled from the exploration of dumpsters to better understand our modern society and culture. Why does the average American household send 470 pounds of uneaten food to the garbage can on an annual basis? How do different societies around the world cope with their garbage in these troubled environmental times? How does our trash give insight into our attitudes about gender, class, religion, and art? The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste explores the topic across multiple disciplines within the social sciences and ranges further to include business, consumerism, environmentalism, and marketing. Each article ranges from 600 to 3,000 words. We are now making assignments due October 1, 2010.

This comprehensive project will be published by SAGE Reference and will be marketed to academic and public libraries as a print and digital product available to students via the library’s electronic services. The General Editor, who will be reviewing each submission to the project, is Dr. William Rathje, emeritus University of Arizona, the top scholar in the field.

If you are interested in contributing to this cutting-edge reference, it is a unique opportunity to contribute to the contemporary literature, redefining sociological issues in today’s terms. Moreover, it can be a notable publication addition to your CV/resume and broaden your publishing credits. SAGE Publications offers an honorarium ranging from SAGE book credits for smaller articles up to a free set of the printed product or access to the online product for contributions totaling 10,000 words or more.

The list of available articles is already prepared, and as a next step we will e-mail you the Article List (Excel file) from which you can select topics that best fit your expertise and interests. Additionally, Style and Submission Guidelines will be provided that detail article specifications.

If you would like to contribute to building a truly outstanding reference with the Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage, please contact me by the e-mail information below. Please provide a brief summary of your academic/publishing credentials in related issues.

Thanks very much.

Joseph K. Golson

Rant of the month

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Apparently, someone came up with the idea to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into an “eco island“. Blogger Anders Sandberg has a fabulous and well-informed rant on why that is a rather stupid idea. Recommended reading.

Trafigura fined (another) € 1m

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In July 2006 the vessel Probo Koala, owned by international oil company Trafigura, dumped tonnes of hazardous trash outside Abidjan, the Ivory Coast. The cargo, made up of among other highly dangerous substances lye and oil production waste, was supposed to be exported from the Netherlands to the Ivory Coast, but as the port authorities in Abidjan deemed the cargo too dangerous to be allowed ashore, it was simply washed out into sea. Some 30,000 people fell ill and 17 died in the aftermath.

A court in the Netherlands has now fined Trafigura € 1 million (roughly US$ 1,3 million) for illegal exporting and dumping of toxic trash. The fine was about half of what prosecutors had called for, but they have stated that they see the ruling as a victory. In earlier settlements, Trafigura has paid £100 million (roughly US$ 154 million) to the Ivorian government and £30 million (roughly US$46 million).

The Beat Waste Start-Up Challenge

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Beat Waste Start-Up Challenge is offerin a 25k prize for the best idea—in the form of an elevator pitch—to reduce waste in an innovative way. Check out the finalists here. Rooting through now for future posts, there are some great ideas here. Which is your favorite?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just discovered the nifty site Replayground, the trash biz of designer Tiffany Threadgould who packages instructions and base materials for DIY upcycling kits as gifts for kids and families. She also leads corporate events and community workshops on upcycling. As regular readers are probably aware, I am quite skeptical of trash for sale. What I like about this venture though is the DIY section of the website. Free ideas! And some good ones at that. Also, redefining corporate skills and teambuilding events as an opportunity to discuss waste is ingenius.

Check out the Replayground blog for more free project ideas, some shared through adorable videos like this one.

Thanks for the tip, Aaron!

Lixo extraordinário (Waste Land)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Attention New Yorkers: As part of its annual festival Premiere Brazil! MoMA will be screening a film called Lixo extraordinário (Waste Land) next Saturday, July 24 @ 2:00 theater 1. Thanks for the tip, Shanti!

Lixo extraordinário (Waste Land)

Check out the provocative description:

2010. Great Britain/Brazil. Directed by Lucy Walker. Co-directed by João Jardim, Karen Harley. This documentary follows celebrated contemporary artist Vik Muniz on an emotional journey to the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, outside Rio de Janeiro, and explores his three-year collaboration with the catadores, who inhabit the “trash city” picking recyclables. It tells an immensely powerful story of people at the end of their rope, using art as a means to “recycle” their own lives. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 90 min.

And here’s a trailer off of YouTube:

Edmonton Composting Facility

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just catching up on the third installment of City Room’s “Ask a Garbologist” feature from last week. In particular, I was selfishly pleased to see my own question answered—what are some model policies from other cities that New York could learn from?

Dr. Nagle’s response:

New York’s garbage footprint would shrink significantly if we could build a large-scale composting facility like this state-of-the-art example in Edmonton, Canada. That city, like so many, once consigned all its household waste to landfills, but now 60 percent of it is recycled or composted.

Edmonton’s plant, which takes up about 60 acres, is the largest in North America. The city proper has a population of about 750,000; the larger metropolitan region has approximately one million. A similar facility in New York would have to be a whole lot bigger if we intended it to serve the entire city. Unlike Edmonton, we are not surrounded by open space, so an immediate problem would be finding a place to put it. Edmontonians claim that their facility emits no odors (and no odours, either), a fact verified by a friend who toured it a couple of years ago. Even a stink-free plant in New York would bump up against NIMBY issues, but if we had the political will, the patience and the right spirit, I bet we could build something similar.

Edmonton Composting Facility

Thanks, Robin, for taking the time! And thanks, City Room for the trashtastic feature! Readers if you’re just tuning in, I highly recommend sifting through all three installments of answers from a garbologist. Each is riddled with interesting facts and handy references to trashy resources.

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