Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash

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Their activity also benefits the environment.

Social studies of waste, pollution & externalities

Sierra Leone has no functioning public trash collection service. Some inventive tinkerers are taking matters into their own hands by turning discarded soda cans into stable and cheap cooking pots.


  • Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash by Gillian Whiteley | Junk art, Art, Politics?
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When most people look at waste, they see just that: Trash to be tossed away. This week's guest writer Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, however, sees an opportunity for the economy and the environment.

Most Important Junk Creatives

On this week's Eco Africa, we see how architects and engineers in Senegal are making buildings with bricks made of soil not concrete, and follow rangers in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. On this week's Eco Africa, we visit a group in Cameroon empowering women by providing them with solar panels and see how an artist in South Africa is making decoys to entice penguins to go where there is more food. On this week's Eco Africa, we visit a man pushing back against the desertification of Niger, see what a waterless toilet can do for a slum in Kenya and try out creative innovations in rural Tanzania.

African masks have a history almost as long as the continent to which they belong, but an artist in Ghana has given them a whole new twist by making them out of waste.

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Meet the inimitable Ed Franklin Gavua. Send us your stories, photos and videos and we will showcase them on our website where they can inspire others to do their bit too. Meet a man who's doing his bit for the environment by digging holes in urban India. It might sound unlikely, but it's helping to prevent both flooding and drought.


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Welcome to the world of the recharge well. DW's half-hour radio show and podcast brings you environment stories from around the globe. Anxiety and despair over the climate crisis is driving more and more people to psychotherapy.

Junk Art of the 20th Century

But if the planet is facing disaster, what's the point of talking about your feelings? Unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.

The UN's meteorological agency has said CO2 levels are accelerating at the highest rate on record and showing "no sign of a slowdown. More info OK. Wrong language?

Plastic art: One man’s trash, another man’s treasure

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Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash by Gillian Whiteley | Junk art, Art, Politics

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To give you a better overall experience, we want to provide relevant ads that are more useful to you. Trash, garbage, rubbish, dross, and detritus - in this enjoyably radical exploration of 'Junk', Gillian Whiteley rethinks art's historical and present appropriation of junk within our eco-conscious and globalised culture. She does this through an illustrated exploration of particular materials, key moments and locations and the telling of a panoply of trash narratives.

Found and ephemeral materials are primarily associated with assemblage - object-based practices which emerged in the mids and culminated in the seminal exhibition 'The Art of Assemblage' in New York in With its deployment of the discarded and the filthy, Whiteley argues, assemblage has been viewed as a disruptive, transgressive artform that engaged with narratives of social and political dissent, often in the face of modernist condemnation as worthless kitsch.

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