Talking Trash
personal relationships with waste

Location: MCA, Sydney and Regional Art Gallery, Gouldburn
Additional presentation: Chabot Museum, Rotterdam (2011)
Collaboration with artist Jeanne van Heeswijk

Talking Trash is a project for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia, with the local community of Goulburn and Veolia Environmental Services. It explores a range of personal approaches to waste from wasting water, toothpaste or DVDs to wasting time, through interviews with 25 households. A series of short, insightful stories from residents in the rural centre of Goulburn and Liverpool in Western Sydney. Adopting a reality fiction approach, the 25 mini video clips reveal a range of unique approaches and often strongly held views on concepts of waste, personal behaviour and responsibility in a climate of consumerism, recycling and growing concern for the environment.

'Waste' is the general term for unwanted or undesired material; other terms used loosely as synonyms are rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk. Conceptions of waste frequently impact environmental decision-making in societies. In addition to this, there is also an important cultural dimension to waste. 'Wasting time', 'wasting money', 'wasting good food' or 'being wasteful' in innumerable ways involve moral judgments that carry a great deal of weight in human interaction and that differ in the societies of the world and even within those societies.

The project looks into how the various cultural communities that make up the area deal with consumerism and globalization. Looking closely at what they're wasting ... or feel like (not) wasting. To explore what 'waste' means to people living in the Goulburn area, and explore the 'fields of interaction' around waste.