Post consumer discards include packaging, junk mail, old clothes, spoiled food, broken objects, unwanted toys, and depleted batteries - anything that is not used in the production of another product. Plastics and electronics dominate the post consumer waste presented by the international array of artists in this section. Plastic was developed in 1868 when John Wesley Hyatt invented celluloid as a substitute for the ivory in billiard balls. The first electronic device is thought to be the light bulb Thomas Edison fabricated in the 1880s. Wesley and Edison could not have imagined the waste-factor of their discoveries in the succeeding centuries.

Project: As the artists in this section demonstrate, garbage provides a prime opportunity for expressive art creation. Create a work of art by selecting any post consumer discard. Treat it with the expressive device used by one of these artists. For example, PCD is treated as sublime by Chu Yun, shameful by Eke, pathetic by Greenfort, sorrowful by Lin, respectful by Ukeles, and alarming by Zurkow.

Research / Discussion: Select a still-life painting from the first half of the 19th century, before peoples' lives were dependent upon mass-produced goods, long supply lines, packaging, electronics, and plastics. Compare the waste-factor of the objects presented in this painting with the waste associated with comparable items in today's marketplace. How were the 19th century items disposed of? How are the contemporary forms of this waste typically disposed of?

  • Friday, 14 September 2012