Is another person’s treasure? More likely, one person’s trash is just fresh landfill fodder. However, this adage positions trash as ripe for transformation - redeemable and novel under the gaze of new eyes. It also implies an appreciation for those who are willing to work for their pleasure; sifters and sorters are rewarded for their patience and dedication to finding treasure in trash. There is an old-world tendency (in particular among those who have survived hardship) to hold onto the ephemera of everyday life, to ‘hoard’- perhaps in preparation for disaster, war, shortage, or an unexpected dinner guest. On the flip side, the trend of minimalism is pervasive among a certain subset of the upper middle class, and thus having few things and no trash is a class marker, an indicator of privilege - the privilege to transcend capitalism (or look as though you were).That commodities are now constructed in order to self-destruct after a short amount of time means that there is more trash than ever. The very real threat of climate change is linked directly to a culture of consumption that produces more trash, more waste, than the world can possibly contain. The “Trash” folder in the SVA Pictures Collection offers a glimpse into the many incarnations of trash - as mountain, home, job, evidence, art. Is it still possible to romanticize trash as possessing a latent potential for treasure?
Oct 24 2017