Updates from October, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Lorelle VanFossen 6:41 am on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abstracts, , , , , , excess, , forms of excess, , , , , literature, , , , workshop   

    Call for Abstracts on Forms of Excess in Post-1960 Art, Film, and Literature 

    Discard Studies announced a call for abstracts on the topic of “Forms of Excess in Post-1960 Art, Film, and Literature” for the University of York in the UK with a February 2015 deadline, followed up with a special event workshop and exhibits.

    This appears to be an open request, and it comes with some interesting topic ideas, many of which may apply to our Garbology campus and classroom projects.

    Visual art, film, and literature since 1960 has been marked by leftovers, repetitions, and time lags, despite emerging in a climate of accelerated technological development and the erasure of leisure time. From artworks that incorporate the trash and detritus of consumerist excess to novels and films that indulge in narrative ‘time-wasting,’ the cultural production of the last fifty years has revelled in the wasteful and excessive. This event asks: what are the aesthetics of excess? What are its material, temporal and figurative manifestations? Is artistic time-wasting a radical form of resistance to the capitalist imperative to be productive? Or do art’s glorious expenditures reinforce aesthetic hierarchies that privilege ‘difficulty’? We invite 20-minute papers from postgraduates and early-career researchers that engage with waste and excess in post-1960 art, literature, and film. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • Narrative: digressions; footnotes and marginalia; listing; repetition; the non-event; the filler; reality effects
    • Queer theory: the concept of the queer subject as embodying non-(re)productivity; queer temporalities; drag and camp as recycling
    • The body: labour; time-wasting and protest
    • Feminism: the gendered dynamics of lack and excess
    • Economic surplus: abstraction; financial markets; concepts of utility and value
    • Digital waste: big data; information overload; archive fever
    • Cold War politics: nuclear waste; abundance and wasting as critical tactics
  • Lorelle VanFossen 11:06 am on October 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: commentary, discussions, , essays, , language, language arts, prose,   

    English: Garbology Prose 

    The author of Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, Edward Hume, won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the US military in 1989, and was a writing workshop high school teacher in Cerritos, California, so he knows a thing or two about writing prose.

    In the first chapter, Hume describes the giant mountain of garbage created daily by the garbage accumulated and processed outside of Los Angeles this way, referring to the compacting of the garbage into cells, blocks of trash.

    Big Mike sculpts such a mound not in a month or a week, but in one glorious day, every day, as he and his colleagues dump, push, carve and build a pinnacle of trash where once there were canyons. He is king of a mountain built of old tricycles and bent board games, yellowed newspapers and bulging plastic bags, sewage sludge and construction debris—all the detritus, discards and once valuable tokens of modern life and wealth, reduced to an amorphous, dense amalgam known as “fill.”

    The football-field-sized plot at the center of activity atop Puente Hills is called a “cell,” not in the prison-block sense, but more akin to the tiny biological unit, many thousands of which are needed to create a single, whole organism. As with living creatures, this cell, titanic as it is, represents a small building block for the modern landfill—the part that grows and reproduces each day. A dozen BOMAGs, bulldozers and graders swarm over this fresh fill every day, backing and turning and mashing and shaping, their warning gongs clanging and engines roaring in a controlled chaos, mammoth bees crawling atop the hive. Their curved steel blades raise up and blot the sun, then drop into the sea of trash and push it forward, waves of debris flowing off either side as if the dozers’ blades were the prows of a schooner fleet, complete with the flap and quarrel of seagulls overhead, their cranky squawks drowned out by the diesel din. A sickly-sweet smell of decay kicks up when the cell is churned this way, and the thrum and grind of the big engines can be felt in the ground near the cell. The noise induces sympathetic vibrations in the chest of anyone nearby, creating the uncomfortable sensation of being near a marching band with too many bass drummers.

    From the chapter excerpt published on Huffington Post in 2012.

    In two short paragraphs, we are there, watching the behemoth dozers dance with the daily trash, molding and squeezing 13,000 tons of garbage into a 15 ft deep rectangle the length and width of a football field. We smell it, we feel it, it vibrates our body – all the senses are touched.

    Bringing beautiful prose to garbage takes a mastery of the language.

    Garbology: A PAST Foundation Educational Program produced by the Solid Waste Autority of Central Ohio covers the adoption of Garbology as a school-wide project, and cited the English class reading of William Rathje’s book, Rubbish and listening to guest lecturers from Mexico describe how their country handles waste and waste management. The English curriculum recommended in the book include Socratic discussion on changing how we generate trash, review and dissemination of garbage in the news, and a poetry competition following the prompt from Rathje’s book, “In sight, Out of Mind…”

    California State University at Northridge English Department published several creative writing and English essays on Garbology from their English classes citing two student essays. Jenny Dullas wrrote a letter home to her Dad for her English 113A class about changing their shopping habits and Pamela Palencia’s essay on an ocean of garbage beautiful commentary on a photograph:

    Isolated in an ocean of grey, none others present but the clear loose plastic that surrounds the abandon wooden boat. A wooden boat whose appearance looks like rusty, ancient handles bars from a forgotten bicycle. This immense amount of waste floating on a grime-filled body of water is motionless. His hope is trapped in the surroundings of multiple junk food wrappings and pieces of ivory paper. As youth lets the sadness from these grey waters touch his fingertips, youth is slowing losing all hope. A child rests at the front of his lonely, faded boat, viewing the poison that is being fed to this world known as Earth. A boy is at his edge, his climax, his tipping point of desiring a healthy home, a better life. A child with an inferior lifestyle attempting to paint his desired future in a pond instead is blurred by the unsanitary trash that lies beneath him. Eternal trash covers the gift of beauty of blue crystal seas like a darkness covering the gift of sight of a child. The sea of scraps is a variety of different shapes and sizes of plastic. Long, narrow, big, or small it does not matter its appearance because plastic is danger. This danger swims in a pond that was once a home to fishes, a delightful view to people, and a reflection of the cloudy light blue skies. It is now hiding under the toxic garbage we put there like the filth hidden underneath one’s fingernails.

    Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Curriculum Center on Education for Sustainability offers a lesson overview on “Talking Trash” with an outline on how to consider what our culture perceives as waste and how cultures can live sustainably within a natural environment for the art and music classes for English Language Arts. The lesson plan includes a list of study and talking points on Garbology.

    A student in the UW Garbology project shares her views on garbology including examples of keeping a trash log, documenting and analyzing the trash Mara generates during her school and home life, then describes the three benefits she’s gained from doing garbology, a good example of a summary writing project and analysis.

    A search through Tumblr topics on Garbology reveal many articles and posts from students and teachers on the topic, often featuring lessons and assignments as students report on their findings.

    Almost all Garbology projects involve writing and research, digging deep into the facts, history, and science of our trash. There are stories about our lives and trash everywhere, from hoarders to recyclers to employees in the garbage industry to every day people coping with the confusion of what to do with all the trash they generate and collect.

    If your class is writing about Garbology, please share the questions and discussions you will use in class to help other teachers see the potential in the subject matter.

  • Lorelle VanFossen 11:30 am on September 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bees, campaigns, cell phones, cleanup, do something, garbage campaigns, , parties, , , social, trash campaigns, youth   

    Inspired by DoSomething.org Trash Campaigns 

    Do Something is a non-profit organization designed to work with young people to inspire and motivate them to social change and activism. There are about 2.8 million members participating in cause-based campaigns.

    Collection of images from Do Something campaigns on garbage and recycling activities.

    Many of their campaigns are associated with garbology. These might inspire you to involve your class in Do Something campaign or create their own with Do Something as a platform for their garbology projects.

    You never know where an idea may come from and Do Something kids have some great ones.

  • c
    Compose new post
    Next post/Next comment
    Previous post/Previous comment
    Show/Hide comments
    Go to top
    Go to login
    Show/Hide help
    shift + esc