Garbage, Waste, Consumption (Landscape and Modernity, Series 7)

A slow June at the Fair (see here for an explanation), but I'm popping in to share what constitutes a different sort of landscape image(s) below. Here's the first:

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The Citarum River in Indonesia.

Here we have landscapes of garbage, scenes of environments overwhelmed with waste, with excess, with disposed and disposable items. The images are jarring to me, especially when defined as landscapes -- that these are visions of the terrain in which we live. Nobody would confuse these for wilderness pictures. In this case, the human contrivance is too obvious to warrant comment, though In prior entries into this Landscape and Modernity series the cases were more ambiguous.

I wrote in the last post in this series (about industrialized, workplace landscapes [6]) that I hope the images can be viewed as part of a larger question about the representation of nature and the environment (be it built by humans or not). I wonder how the current set fits that same appeal. the same time, some of the coloring below is surprisingly striking. In a longer discourse, this post would press on the tensions inside the question 'what is beauty?' and then wonder about how we choose to highlight and laud certain images of our world while dismissing others. I don't say that because I applaud or rush to view rivers of garbage, but because I'm looking at these and being forced to think more about what counts as an acceptable landscape portrait.

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A river of garbage in Manila, Philippines


An older image resulting from garbage disputes in Naples

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Children walking along a large pipeline in Mumbai, India

The Philippino garbage river follows well from Chris Jordan's artistic representation of plastic garbage. All of them seem to go with the Mt. Trashmore sign from this post. And all of these are part of a larger discussion about the consumption patterns which produce these disposal problems, as intimated in this post on e-waste and this discussion about High Tech Trash.

The others in the Landscapes and Modernity series are these:
[6] industrialized, workplace landscapes;
[5] Foodscapes;
[4] trees;
[3] the A-Bomb;
[2] pastures;
[1] the West; and
[call it 1a] this solitary industrial one that preceded the formal naming of the series and included reference to the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.
As well, calling it [7a], we can put in Dave's recent post on Burtynsky.

With thanks to The Morning News for the link, and to Deputy Dog, the site that housed these images

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this is sick as anyting blud!!

By jessica clayton (not verified) on 18 Jan 2010 #permalink

can i use one of your pictures for the clip that we will be doing as IEC for the children? the one taken in Manila, Philippines. Thank you..

Waste stream is a seriously problem in Indonesia and other growth country, in the past only organic waste dumped into the river..but now most of them are plastic ,cans ,household waste and sewage took many years of commitment and hardwork for the recovery.
Poverty ,low knowledge ,unawareness of the resident and the lack of facilities is a constraint over the years.
Some of new leaders in this country have the commitment but awareness is not rapidly changing.
Absolutly People know that is not good dumped waste into the river,they like to dump easily but no Facilities nearby.