Making art out of garbage might seem like an amusing gag, but questioning the value of cultural and social production is something artists do as much as they create beautiful things. Wim Delvoye’s cloaca is an uncanny creature of mechanical consumption, literally excreting artistic treasures as biomechanical production.
Diane Borsato’s transportation and celebration of a snowbank in Toronto embodies a way of seeing how we performatively inscribe value onto the materials around us.
Making art in the “world’s largest trash city,” Vik Muniz generates larger-than-life portraits from mountains of everyday waste, while Natalie Jeremijenko builds a floating Environmental Health Clinic out of the same bottles we might find littering a beach on which to hold meetings and consultations about water systems as a shared commons. JP King’s film project There is No Away goes behind the scenes of industrial-scale waste management processing facilities to make visible the underworld of garbage.
David Hammons’ snowballs for sale inspired a number of discrete gestures by local students.
Joshua Allan Harris turns worthless plastic bags and valueless subway exhaust into compelling, moving creatures on city streets.
Local Toronto artist Sean Martindale makes interventions on residential street corners, finding value in the abject cracks of city planters and on garbage day’s curb.
Basil AlZeri’s work examines the pantry as a complex site where cultural, economic, political and social preservation become intertwined with practices of resistance.