Waste-Site Stories: The Recycling of Memory by Brian Neville, Johanne Villeneuve

By Brian Neville, Johanne Villeneuve

Essays discover the detritus of contemporary existence.

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Extra resources for Waste-Site Stories: The Recycling of Memory

Sample text

See N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (New York: Harper and Row, 1968); Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (New York: Penguin Books, 1987). In Japan, literature has had to contend with the technological destruction of traditional structures of understanding in the fallout from Hiroshima. Tellingly, Kobo Abe, in The Ark Sakura, imagines a society that orients its daily life around waste: the eupcaccia, an insect that moves in circles, ever consuming its own waste, is Abe’s figure for a society in which all aspects of life are negotiations with waste.

Inspired by medieval stained glass windows, Albers produced small and very delicate pictures made of glass. In this case, the rubbish was transformed into a material that did not reveal its origins in the dumps of Weimar. The history of Wa s t e i n t o H e r i t a g e 43 the raw materials was obliterated by the very process of their artistic use. They became material, traditional material—colored glass, lead—in works of abstract art showing effects of light and color achieved by assembling different qualities of glass, with different grades of transparency and coloration.

The only attention that waste, garbage, or rubbish garner is during their destruction or hygienically safe disposal. Otherwise, waste is usually neglected. But waste is not a stable category; the word signifies different things and depends on notions of order and systems of value. The separation of useful and functional things, of valuable and precious things, on the one hand, and useless, nonfunctional, worthless and dirty things and materials, on the other hand, depends on categories that change historically and differ from one culture or group to the next.

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