Rubbish Topographies, 2011
Mixed media, used tea bags, trash
Touchstones Nelson, Nelson, BC, Canada
Rule of interaction: Send the artist clean, dry tea bags as raw materials for an art installation.
Rubbish Topographies is a landscape made of donated trash. Although the pile of tea bags and cardboard may bring to mind the panicked adage that, “we make too much garbage!”, it symbolizes something further. Every tea bag was saved, dried, and delivered by the artist’s family, friends, friends-of-friends, coworkers, and even strangers from around the world. Rubbish Topographies is not meant to represent a pile of guilt, but is a quantitative testimony to how people will mind and care for their waste when there is an opportunity to reuse it. As such, Rubbish Topographies is a tea-bag tally-chart of individual commitment to, conscientiousness of, and generosity with their waste. It is an effort to look at systems of waste rather than individualize and moralize trash practices.
Visitors were invited to add their used, dried tea bags to build up any part of the exhibition.