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by NM Mashurov

I think I started having feelings about trash while I was closing up the bar, scraping crusted nacho cheese out of a hot pot for the millionth time. Or maybe it was while running a show at Silent Barn, hauling giant bags of other people’s stale Tecates past people chilling and flirting and networking, on a mission to get to the dumpster before the trash juice leaked everywhere.

I lived at the Silent Barn, a community art space in Brooklyn, for two years. During that time, I somehow learned a lot about trash. At the Barn, trash was an upfront fact of life. The bigger the show, the more cans,

the more bags you carry out. We slowly grew intimately familiar with trash. When to take it out, what got picked up, what was trash and what was lore. Waste management, or anything that made waste management easier, was exciting. We cheered when we got a second dumpster. We were ecstatic when we got a new toilet for the show space. We took selfies with it.

+ + +

As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve been thinking about trash for a long time. When I got my first camera, I filled card after card with photos of trash cans,

wrappers, bottles arranged artfully. In another life, I could have photographed swimming holes and light filtering artfully through the trees. Instead, I found the mountains of trash washing up on Dead Horse Beach. Maybe I wanted to see the beauty in my surroundings. Maybe I started to identify with it.

In pristine Manhattan, my Brooklyn friends and I immediately got the sense that we were misfits. We accumulated a varied coalition of freaks & geeks - socially awkward geniuses, travel punks, theater kids, kids from fucked up families, kids who grew up in . . .

The story is in the soil /
by Carlos Hernandez

Becca and I gaze up through the trees and shrubs toward the summit of a great hill. A uniformed tour guide is addressing a small group a few yards ahead of us. “Imagine, this entire hill is made of refuse,” she says. Becca and I giggle.

It’s true. The dusty path that meanders between twigs, among acres of grass, past information kiosks and tent-covered displays -- it all rests on just six inches of soil, which in turn sits on layers of clay, pipeline, charcoal, kevlar, condensed earth.

Under this thick green sheath lies fifty-three years’ worth of New York city’s waste, garbage and detritus. All of our city’s plastic-lined coffee cups, Thank You bags, butane lighters, Wu Tang CD’s, candy wrappers, soda cans… our old Compaq computers and Coby headphones, broken alarm clocks and scraps of drywall and styrofoam takeout containers.

As we walk, we start to muse. This could be such a good destination

for a day trip. A date. A picnic. A ball game. A bicyclist glides by and I imagine myself on a sunny afternoon sometime in 2035, whimsically crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, pedaling down Water St and boarding the ferry.

We reach the top of the hill. Faces around us are flush and coated with a glaze of sweat. It’s unseasonably hot for late September, but up ahead, there is a kiosk displaying promotional branded water cartons. We queue up and watch a middle-aged couple take the last sips of their water and toss the empty cartons in a bin. Near the front of the line, a young woman in a baseball cap ties up the full trash bag. She lifts the full bag and carries it off, down the opposite slope, out of sight.

Today, three thousand people have gathered at Freshkills Park for Sneak Peek. Half of them are native Staten Islanders, the other half come in from all four other boroughs and from southern New Jersey, just across the Goethels and Outerbridge Crossing. The park is not yet open, and is . . .

Supper clubs, kitchen waste and fridge food rescue / by Katie Meizner

The bananas in my freezer turned black. Did the peel mold? Are they diseased? What in the hell is going on? I used to wonder things like this. Now I know that freezing bananas is actually a way to slow the ripening process. But having been raised in a household that instilled in me many food neuroses -- a predilection for pristine-looking, genetically modified produce, a heightened awareness of sell by dates and a mortal fear of mold -- my preferred method of dealing with old produce was always to just throw it away. Deleted. Good bye.

“There’s a lot of information out there that misleads consumers into thinking that they need to be wasting food,” says Josh Treuhaft, organizer of a sustainability initiative called Salvage Supperclub. “Safety concerns, and ‘sell by’ or ‘best buy’ dates, for . . .

A conversation with G. Lucas Crane

G. Lucas Crane spent a total of eight years living at The Silent Barn: seven at the New York art space’s original Ridgewood location, and one at its current Bushwick home. Crane is also a founding member of the current Silent Barn project. During this time, he has seen unbelievably transcendent art and unbelievably horrifying trash. Art, trash, and DIY spaces have one thing in common - they cross borders, and in doing so, make one reevaluate where those borders lie, both at the individual and social level. The Media asked Lucas to talk about his personal experience of trash, art, and DIY, and share some wisdom gleaned from being immersed in all three for so long.

Silent Barn 1.0 [The Husk]

The Silent Barn’s original location was my house. It was an industrial building that I lived in where we made shows happen.

There are these layers of wrong definitions. I am not supposed to be living in an industrial building and I am not supposed to be having performances in my home. In that space, in that intersection of different wrongs and improper uses of geography and space itself, you find the catch-all term “DIY culture.”

So I’m having shows in my house and getting the palpable sense that people come over and leave and they don’t take their trash with them when they leave. They can barely suffer to throw it into a receptacle that we randomly remembered to put out.

(We should have had ten. They should have been lining the walls.)

But people seem to want to go wild, and having a confusing or ambiguously defined geography or space to pull your culture in also lends itself to ambiguously defined trash policies.

After the revolution, who takes out the trash?

My first personal experience is that people generate a lot of trash and they don’t want to clean it up.

And why would they? Trash is yucky. I mean that as a technical term. It’s yucky, it’s physically disgusting, and you, as someone who is ingesting culture, you generate trash by that action. You people like to drink. That creates a rind that you have to cast off. That rind should be processed correctly, if we were being moral or ethical creatures, but it’s being packed into the trash and not recycled, and being put into a landfill. There’s recycling, but then there’s the Chinese food that you’re putting on top of the recycling, rendering it null and void, making the effort to separate it someone’s job.

Apparently it makes people really comfortable to not even have to think about the consequences of their actions. This plays out across all cultural interactions between people -- you’re stopping your mind at a boundary where you’re a moral or ethical actor, you’re a good person, you’re at this place for a good reason, everyone’s a great person, there’s no assholes in the room … but you’re not recycling. You’re a good person but you’re not bundling up your cardboard.

You stop your mind from thinking about the consequences of . . .


by Tali S.F.
Songs for lamenting the reality of human garbage in a human garbage world.

by Mimi Chrzanowski
"Do you got that trash appeal?"

by Yeni Sleidi
Garbage Time.

by Nathan Albert
Reducing food waste by fermenting.

by Andrew McFarland
The transformation of waste.

by Liana Helene
Everything is trash.

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