Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ann Wizer: Beautiful Garbage

from the article,

Ann Wizer walks through the corroded landscape of landfills and sees a palimpsest of the global economy. Trash is impervious to shifts in modes of production and the virtualization of currency—trash collects, grows, accumulates, and evolves into a built environment of its own. Wizer, a visual artist/environmental activist, has been living in Asia since the early 90s, using found objects from nature and industry in her works. She eventually came to use just garbage in her creations, because “there is so much of it.” In Jakarta, she collaborated with the trash-pickers, a sort of caste of untouchables who survive solely on scavenging. She paid them to wash, dry, clean, and cut up garbage, and taught them how to work the materials into shoulder bags and other saleable products in a venture called XSProject.

In a recent exhibit at the Galleria Duemila in Pasay City, Wizer mounted refuse-upholstered furniture pieces with exaggerated proportions, an indictment on corporate social irresponsibility, where companies and governments refuse to deal with the waste they lay. Stuffed with colorful, shiny strips of plastic from toothpaste tubes and other discards and cut entirely by scissor, the chairs contain the shredded and damning evidence of a profligate corporate culture.

It makes you think twice about picking up a Zesto—juice packaging, made from layers of metal, paper and plastic, is unrecyclable. Inevitably, the very same companies who denied Wizer any help when she was developing the project turned around and reappropriated the ideas, and used recycled bags as corporate giveaways. “They seem to see XSProject concepts only as promotional devices to increase their sales,” Wizer says. As for the chairs, they were especially made for these execs “who have built their brands, made their profits but due to selfish neglect of a larger world, they sit in their own waste. They’ve soiled their nests.”


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