T.O.Y.S. On Tour: Trash Transformed Into Art and Global Recycling

T.O.Y.S. On Tour: Trash Transformed Into Art and Global Recycling

Tracing the footsteps trash leaves internationally, the T.O.Y.S mission transforms "junk" by renewing the socio-economic processes in Africa.

Kyana Gordon
  • 12 february 2010

theSYNdicate, an international network for transforming arts recently launched the T.O.Y.S. On Tour project. Tracing the footsteps trash leaves internationally, the T.O.Y.S mission transforms “junk” by renewing the socio-economic processes in Africa. Countries in Africa produce commodities such as cocoa, diamonds, gold, and oil that help fuel first-world economies. As a result, third world nations are flooded with products of mass consumption, and in some cases hazardous materials.

The project’s goal is to understand the global cycle of garbage by observing how countries deal with trash in different parts of the world. Also, in parallel development, the team hopes to define a scale of measurement to evaluate European trash and ways to dispose of refuse in the most profitable way possible, by ‘selling’ trash in local markets. Artists from theSYNdicate work as waste disposal agents in ‘trash design’ uniforms and bargain with the local African population. Once the market value is established, and a sum of money agreed upon, the European objects of trash are exchanged for a piece of art. Become a shareholder at 35Euro, and you’ll receive a piece of useful re-designed trash from Africa’s slum industry of artisans.

T.O.Y.S. On Tour: Trash Transformed Into Art and Global Recycling

The T.O.Y.S. team began their research trip in mid-November in Graz, Austria. Community members of Graz were encouraged to dispose of ‘refuse for Africa’ at the city’s main square (Hauptplatz), where theSYNdicate artists waited in their ‘refuse’ vehicle to receive donations to catalogue and document. A cross-section of Austrian trash bins were loaded onto an overland truck and their journey took them throughout Europe and to ten African countries. In Africa, trash was also collected, catalogued and documented by theSYNdicate  team, in the same way it was in Europe: this time, however, small units were sealed, numbered, given an exact description of the place where found, and defined as art objects. One sample per place is laid aside, as a ‘dividend’ for shareholders. These methodologies were put into place en route in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria by using garbage as a storytelling vehicle and global structure to explore socio-economic realities of different cultures.

Once back in Graz, the plan is to organize a large meeting of shareholders, where packets of refuse will be presented. Also, a catalog will be published, with analyses of the different types of refuse in their respective socio-economic contexts, along with theoretical texts on the economy, ecology, refuse art, and the cultures along the route. Exhibitions are planned to be held in Vienna, Graz, Lagos, and in other places.

[via T.O.Y.S on Tour]


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