Noah Sachs uses the years-long Bangalore garbage crisis to ask some pointed questions about America's secretive waste-disposal industry, which treats the treatment of American waste as a military-grade secret, protected by barbed wire and vicious lawyers.
Bangalore's drowning in rubbish, it's contaminating the water and poisoning the Earth, tens of thousands labor in filthy, unsafe conditions to sort and recover it -- and the average Bangalorean is only generating about one pound of trash per day. Americans throw away seven times that amount, and the fact that it's whisked away doesn't mean it's not a problem. In Sachs's view, the Bangalore situation just makes visible the lurking consequences of America's own profligacy.
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You may have heard about the 8m-tall, abandoned metal statue of Marilyn Monroe that is quietly resting in a Chinese scrapheap after a brief tenure in front of a mall in Guigang, China. But as Jillian Steinhauer points out, the weird juxtaposition of Giant Metal Marilyn amid the garbage is only the tip of the weird -- far stranger are the possible connections to the another, American metal Marilyn, who currently lives at the New Jersey sculpture park Grounds for Sculpture.
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Here's gallery of skeletons and skulls made from melted-down cassette tapes by Brian Dettmer. Memento mori for a dead medium.
Brian Dettmer's Melted Casette Tape Skeletons and Skulls
NoDeg sez, "Here's a video of children who live in a slum in Paraguay playing instruments made from recycled material." They call themselves the Landfillharmonic Orchestra. Their story is sweet and inspiring, and the instruments -- and the music they make -- are absolutely gorgeous. They successfully funded a Kickstarter to expand this into a full-length documentary, too.
Landfill Harmonic- The world sends us garbage... We send back music.
Jud Turner sez, "My latest piece is a life-sized Columbia Mammoth skeleton made from 95% recycled material, mostly old farm equipment. It was created as a commission for Pacific Studio, and will be permanently displayed at the new Moses Lake Museum and Art Center, which is in Washington state. In 1950, a farmer found parts of a Columbia mammoth while digging an irrigation ditch, so this sculpture ties those two elements together. Part of the challenge in building it in my studio in Eugene, OR was that I had to make it in a way that it could be taken apart, and re-assembled without any additional welding. Just taking it down was one of the scariest operations I've ever undertaken in the studio (over a ton of sharp, rusty steel 15 feet in the air had to be lowered with manual genie-lifts.)"
DeviantArt's ~toge-NYC hot-glued this awesome dragon out of plastic disposable cutlery and cups, slaving over it for 80 hours, "completely freestyle - no plans/blueprints/drafts."
Travelina sez, "It's not your typical glamour cruise, but it's not cheap either. You travel aboard a 72-foot sailing yacht from the Marshall Islands through the great ocean vortex called the Western Pacific Gyre to Tokyo, and then from Tokyo you follow the path of the Japan tsunami debris with the purpose of sampling it, ending up in Hawaii 32 days later."
The samples they collect during several transects of the field will be used to determine and refine existing models of how fast the material is moving, how quickly it is decomposing, and the nature of the material's colonization by marine animals. Past trips to study marine debris with these organizations have attracted everyone from independent scientists to film crews and artists.
Findings gleaned from the tsunami debris are particularly significant because, unlike concentrated marine pollution elsewhere, the tsunami material's "launch" date and place of origin are known. With this information, researchers can better understand how land-based materials like plastics behave in the ocean.
One of the participants, Valerie Lecoeur, 41 of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said she hopes to see where plastic accumulates in the ocean firsthand.
"For me it's interesting to see that there is debris from the ocean coming from events like tsunami—things that you can't control—and things that you can control as well."
Japan Tsunami-Debris Cruise Attracts Travelers to Ocean Garbage Patch
Tom Deininger is an assemblage artist who arranges bewilderingly large collections of odd plastic tchotchkes into gorgeous pieces, including this Monet-like masterpiece.
Swedish sculptor Michael Johansson creates beautiful, dense sculptures made from charity shop and yard-sale finds, arranged by similarity in tetrisoids and other odd fittings. Check out the link for some enormous pieces made from carefully fitted furniture, as well.
(via Core 77)