Thing-Power: the curious ability of inanimate things to animate, to act, to produce effects dramatic and subtle. [Jane Bennett]
Rubbish can only exist in society - that is, things can only acquire the potential to become rubbish when they don social clothes and break into the human world. The breaking down of the process of the socialization of things results in rubbish. But when does the process of socialization of things break down?
Based on close readings of contemporary theorists Bruno Latour, Jane Bennett, Timothy Morton, and others, the studio proposed a new Smithsonian National Museum of the Environment on a vacant site on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. "Museum for the Treatment of Discarded Objects" provokes us as a species to re-socialize our labeling of discarded material as "trash."
The project was inspired by an art installation created at the beginning of the studio: "Three Days" is a record of 72 hours in the life of my family, captured by the compaction and display of our discarded material.
The Museum invites the public to bring their own material to the site, to have it sorted by an on-site Material Recovery Facility, cataloged and stored in the archival stacks, and then watch it re-purposed in the artists' workshops and material engineering labs. Exhibit spaces re-display and re-figure the material we call "trash." Similar to the effect of "Three Days" on the viewer, the Museum opens a national, global, but critically public dialogue surrounding the socialization of discarded material, one of modernity's most destructive environmental legacies.