Anyone can buy a souvenir of New York City- you can even buy canned air to preserve your memories of your visit. But if owning the ‘air’ of New York City just ‘authentic’ enough for you, you can now own another important artifact of the city: its garbage.
Artist Justin Gignac started selling NYC garbage back in 2001 after his co-workers belittled the importance of packaging design. Gignac decided to show them how persuasive good packaging design can be in a purchase decision:
To prove them wrong, he set out to find something that no one in their right mind would ever buy, and package it to sell. Looking around the dirty streets of Times Square, garbage was the perfect answer. Eleven years later, over 1,300 NYC Garbage cubes have been sold and now reside in 30 countries around the world.
The latest ‘limited edition’ cubes collect trash from a historic first, July 24, 2011: the day same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New York. Gignac collected trash from celebrations around the City Clerk’s Office in downtown Manhattan while some of the first marriages were happening, then packaged them in cubes.
Another limited edition comes from the NY Giants ticker tape parade back in February, featuring lots of confetti, air horns and 5-Hour Energy bottles:
Discarded trash from one-time events get a second life in these branded cubes, becoming valuable artifacts of an event that will never happen again. Next up on the list? Washington D.C. Garbage. Perhaps this is what was meant by “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and for only $50 it could be your treasure too.
Watch Justin speak about his project at PSFK CONFERENCE NYC back in March 2012: