Sublime Refuse, Toxic Splendor

March 26, 2013 § 2 Comments

Thrown out in the garbage and never to be seen again! Dumped outside and down the drain!

I love the feeling of getting rid of unwanted refuse. Even if with a little nagging guilt, I feel free and clean with the illusion of its disappearance . . . .

But even though I can’t say that — I love the term — the Waste Hierarchy’s precept, “Reduce Reuse Recycle,” has been my mantra, I still try to do my best in this regard.

The thing is that this fleeting feeling of “good riddance” alleviates my anxiety about the perhaps irreversible human destruction of the world because, for a brief moment, I allow myself to forget about it.

My escapism not being sufficient, I have been trying to find other “feel good” ways of dealing with the burden of helplessness and to preserve my optimism.

In terms of instant gratification, scientific research and predictions have not helped much so far, but art on the other hand has been a good source of comfort.

So here are three pieces that not only do the job but are also wonderful examples of human ingenuity and artistic ability to see beauty in our trash:

(Click on images to find out more about the artists)

Gowanus canal. Photograph by William Miller

Gowanus canal. Photograph by William Miller

By El Anatsui. Brooklyn Museum of Art

By El Anatsui. Brooklyn Museum of Art

Orchestra of Recycled Instruments. Paraguay

Orchestra of Recycled Instruments. Paraguay

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