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Trash Culture

Pye, Gillian (ed.)

Trash Culture

Objects and Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective

Series: Cultural Interactions: Studies in the Relationship between the Arts - Volume 11

Year of Publication: 2010

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2010. X, 256 pp., 12 ill.
ISBN 978-3-03911-553-2 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.400 kg, 0.882 lbs

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Book synopsis

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, concerns about the environment and the future of global capitalism have dominated political and social agendas worldwide. The culture of excess underlying these concerns is particularly evident in the issue of trash, which for environmentalists has been a negative category, heavily implicated in the destruction of the natural world. However, in the context of the arts, trash has long been seen as a rich aesthetic resource and, more recently, particularly under the influence of anthropology and archaeology, it has been explored as a form of material culture that articulates modes of identity construction.
In the context of such shifting, often ambiguous attitudes to the obsolete and the discarded, this book offers a timely insight into their significance for representations of social and personal identity. The essays in the book build on scholarship in cultural theory, sociology and anthropology that suggests that social and personal experience is embedded in material culture, but they also focus on the significance of trash as an aesthetic resource. The volume illuminates some of the ways in which our relationship to trash has influenced and is influenced by cultural products including art, architecture, literature, film and museum culture.


Contents: Gillian Pye: Introduction: Trash as Cultural Category – Kevin Hetherington: The Ruin Revisited – Sonja Windmüller: ‘Trash Museums’ Exhibiting in Between – Lee Stickells/Nicole Sully: Haunting the Boneyard – Kathleen James-Chakraborty: Recycling Landscape: Wasteland into Culture – Tahl Kaminer: The Triumph of the Insignificant – Douglas Smith: Scrapbooks: Recycling the Lumpen in Benjamin and Bataille – Uwe C. Steiner: The Problem of Garbage and the Insurrection of Things – Wim Peeters: Deconstructing ‘Wasted Identities’ in Contemporary German Literature – Catherine Bates/Nasser Hussain: Talking Trash/ Trashing talk: Cliché in the Poetry of bpNichol and Christopher Dewdney – Randall K. Van Schepen: The Heroic ‘Garbage Man’: Trash in Ilya Kabakov’s The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away – Joel Burges: The Television and the Teapot: Obsolescence, All that Heaven Allows, and a Sense of Historical Time in Contemporary Life – Harvey O’Brien: ‘Really? Worst film you ever saw. Well my next one will be better’: Edward D. Wood Jr, Tim Burton and the Apotheosis of the Foresaken.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editor: Gillian Pye is Lecturer in German at University College Dublin.


Cultural Interactions. Studies in the Relationship between the Arts. Vol. 11
Edited by J.B. Bullen