Exhibition, April 14-May 19, 2012
CEPA Underground Gallery
716 Main St., Buffalo, NY
Rather than take for granted the publicity or privacy of wasted matter, the projects and research in this exhibition proposed a series of sustained actions that rethink the publicity of waste at its source of generation: everyday rituals. Seen together, these acts comprise a new map of urban life, admitting garbage as a matter of social possibility rather than a nuisance. The three prototypes featured in this show were joined by a constellation of objects, ranging from manifestos to videos to real time experiments, suggesting that technologies of waste management are always implicated in larger constellations of ideas, histories and material processes.
Each ritual was communicated through a series of assembly manuals that are publicly available (www.assemblyoftrash.net), combining DIY instructions with information about the social and political context of each ritual. Each Assembly Manual is a template for action as much as a series of instructions and procedures for the construction of a technology. The manual describes the different components of an intervention, linking “how it works” to the social, environmental and spatial dilemmas that surround it. In recognizing these relationships, the manual suggests that in assembling an object, we are also assembling people together with other forces, ranging from the political and regulatory to the biological and environmental. Seemingly small acts are thus understood as always already embedded in larger urban forces, an effort to re-center waste in the imagination of urban life.