Posts Tagged ‘Trash rivers’

Chinese trash islands

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In China, following serious flooding, several cities are now under threat from large islands of trash blocking water flows, potentially causing more flooding. In the city of Baishan, a 160,000 square feet trash island has parked under a bridge. If this floating monument of weirdness isn’t cleared soon, the bridge might collapse, according to the Straits Times.

The Guardian has a picture and a fuller story on the threat at the Three Gorges dam. One can only hope that Chinese authorities have the boldness to rewrite the crisis plan for things-to-do-when-a-flood-comes to include some more garbage workers upstream. Then again, as per usual, the amount of trash to begin with is the problem.

Paul Lloyd Sargent’s trash rivers

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paul Lloyd Sargent is an artist who spreads his time around New York State—from Brooklyn to Syracuse to Clayton—making “rivers” out of trash which he displays in local galleries.

Example of a "trash river"

Example of a "trash river"

According to Sargent, this project aims “to comment on the way we artificially manage natural waterways in the U.S.  Typically I go to a community along the Great Lakes or St. Lawrence River and do some sort of official or guerrilla trash clean-up, then use the stuff I find to build an installation I call Freed: Maquette for an American River.  It’s a long story as to how I got here (based on a history I share with Abbie Hoffman up on the St. Lawrence River) but that’s the short of it.”

To collect materials for the project, Sargent and a “crew of river rats” navigate barges down the river, collecting trash collected under people’s waterfront homes.

River rat barge

River rat barge

The latest trash river will be constructed in Clayton, New York between the last week of August and Labor Day weekend. We look forward to updates on the work and its impact.

These trash rivers remind me of an installation trash artist Donna Conlon did once for which she made a river of plastic water bottles along the steps of an art museum in Costa Rica.

Thanks for the tip, Media. And thanks, Paul, for the photos and inspiration!

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