Rubbish Reappraisal

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Description: A long piece of white paper was placed on the ground extending from a public garbage bin within the busy open-air suburban shopping mall at Bondi Junction.  On the other end of the paper, a table was installed and an Action Researcher/Performer sat holding a series of tags that had printed on them 'specimen 1' up to 100.  The other Action Researcher/Performer repeatedly placed her hand into the garbage bin extracting out one item of rubbish at a time.  She would then hold the piece of rubbish high above her head as she walked down the piece of paper so that members of the public could identify it.  The Action Researcher/Performer then placed the item down on the table to be labelled before resting it on the large piece of paper with all of the other accumulated detritus.  This same procedure was followed until all items from the bin had been extracted.  After a short while, many pedestrians stopped to observe the items being drawn from the bin and then instinctively started clapping, cheering or making other loud noises or comments depending upon what they thought of it.  In this sense the rubbish attracted an immediate value judgement, increasing sensitivity to this otherwise unseen element of the city.  The physical handling of the city refuse by the Action Researcher/Performers also gave them a greater insight into the use, quality and range of objects the city discarded in public receptacles.  

© Astra Howard 2014