Tag Archives: garbage

Garbage videos

When I heard that youtube is filled with garbage, I decided to literally fill it with videos of garbage, so that there is a collection of garbage videos and a channel dedicated specifically to cataloging all kinds of garbage.  Maybe this channel could become a resource for garbage videos in case someone is ever interested in watching garbage. Although I can’t possibly fill this expansive world with garbage, I thought I would try to do my part and I want one of the videos to get popular because it is exactly the opposite of what we strive for to create, and what we consider we want to view.

Furthermore, I decided to videotape garbage around 2008-2009 when I saw that someone tried to create “the worst youtube video.”  That video was a shitty video of some celebrity shot from a cell phone or something, and it got milions of views and became one of the most popular videos on youtube in terms of view numbers and thus was listed under “Top Youtube Videos” back when youtube had that section (I don’t know if youtube still has that section or how it’s judged today).

At some point I noticed there was a video where someone videotaped paint drying.  They did this because someone claimed that youtube videos are as interesting as watching paint dry.

Later, I was very interested in doing things that have anti-art, have a punk-aesthetic, and most importantly encompass Warholian ideas of triviality and the mundane.  Devoting time to make something very banal and useless on purpose, in an almost apathetic way, without dramatizing the subject or beautifying it.  Now there are several such videos: one two.

My goal was to get a video of garbage to accumulate millions of views.  In a community like youtube, the most important thing is popularity.  Videos that are popular surface in the forefront of this community, and videos that are not popular, yet possibly really good, are forgotten and hidden.  Having a video of garbage surface to prominence would exploit the judging system of youtube, by revealing the faults of glorifying popular things rather than tasteful creative endeavors. Anyways, in a context where everyone is trying to create a creative video, a fascinating video, a wild video, or a funny one, a video of trash stands out.  It’s something unusual in this context.

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Some notes on garbage:

These videos are exactly what we don’t want or care to see.  But people are interested in what nobody wants to see, or they could stumble upon it by accident due to the way things are linked on the internet.  People are curious to know what something worthless or terrible looks like.

When I think of garbage I think of objects that nobody need.  Extended it’s not just objects but anything.  Anything can be garbage in the wrong context or time: noise, music, art, love, old technology.  People think of garbage as useless.  One man’s trash it another’s treasure.

Garbage piles are something that is in the way of people; it is kept hidden in black bags in opaque trashcans.  It is in transit to some other place which nobody knows about and which is not a place of interest.  To a dump.  A morgue for useless materials.  It’s used material, or sometimes it’s new material that is in excess, or at the wrong place at the wrong time, and thus not in current need.  It looks gross because it is often the remains of objects that are not desirable.  The bottoms of lettuce, the bones and cartilage of a chicken breast that nobody can eat, empty bottles of drunk drinks, wrapping paper.

Garbage is ubiquitous as useful things.  We make useful things out of garbage.  Artists make visually intriguing things out of useless things.

The Internet, like our world, is full of garbage.  Spam is garbage.  Irrelevant home videos popular on youtube are considered garbage.  Everyone makes them, but nobody besides the creator and their close ones care about it.

I thought I would video record something that nobody claims they want to see, something that is traditionally unpleasant to look at.  Yet visually it forms descent compositions that are not much different than a lot of sculptures or paintings I’ve seen.  I’m not talking about the materials, but the way the shapes and colors are arranged and relate to each other.  Garbage piles happen naturally.

We, a first world “civilized” society, create more garbage than any other country.  It’s what we create.  When I think about this, I think that it is not a conscious decision that we do this, but more like an inevitable consequence, but nevertheless, it’s not something that most are proud of.  But still, we really do create garbage.  That’s undeniable.  Yet we don’t think of it as something we create and it doesn’t really have a purpose, so we don’t glorify this creation.  The garbage we create could be acknowledged.

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I Like Garbage

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When I first visited New York, before 2007, I thought it was cool, but I didn’t want to live here.  I remember thinking that for one, it is very dirty.  Garbage on the sidewalks, garbage on the streets, garbage on the subway tracks, towering piles of garbage bags on the sidewalk ready for pick-up.  Gross greenish-colored puddles in crevices near sidewalks, with that shimmering gasoline reflection.  Oil stains, black dots from gum, papers, cups, bags, beer cans, broken glass, poop, furniture parts, mittens; the list goes on an on.  It makes every inch of the city feel dirty, and the kind of dirty that just cant be simply washed off.  Ever.  And there are so many unpleasant smells.

As of summer 2010, I began to appreciate the disgusting smells and mess.  It was no longer something that repulsed me.  It was like acquiring a taste for beer after you hate it the first time you try it, and then grow to enjoy the unique flavors of beer.  I no longer felt “at home” when I went back to the clean, calm streets of Milwaukee, without a scattering trash on the street, dirty smells, or nasty thick puddles…I became empathetic to the puddles, smells, repulsive fluids and other things…their origin.  I saw their unique beauty.  Still aesthetic issues were secondary.  What I realized was I sincerely admired what this garbage represented.  It was evidence of life.  It came from people, from hurried people trying to get on with their daily and not so daily life, it was proof that people are busy, existed and were most of all alive! It’s kind of a sexy notion.  The same way you think a dance club or bar is sexy if it is full of people.  I enjoy seeing overflowing trashcans, with piles of trash on top and scattered around the can—that failed to accommodate the demanding energy of the masses and the garbage collectors that couldn’t keep up with people’s excrements.  Without garbage on the street, it feels like there are no inhabitants of the city, something feels wrong—the gritty architecture and grimy sidewalks look superficial without litter and waste.  Yes, New York is a beautifully grimy city—it reminds me of the Velvet Underground, the lives of poor creatives, and the nature of punk.

Now when I need to throw something away and there isn’t a cop in front of me, I just let it fall from my hand naturally, or throw it somewhere unless there is a trashcan to practice my aim.  But if I miss I just don’t bother to pick it up, because I want to contribute to the aesthetic of New York City.  And in Milwaukee or other cities I do the same because otherwise the streets just don’t look right; too perfect to be lived streets.

I’m almost inclined to call this garbage ridden cityscape sexy?  It signifies danger and adventure, carelessness, and walking amongst it heightens one’s awareness. Maybe it makes people more comfortable at being closer to other clean people instead of the dirty streets.  Clean streets are stale, somewhat pretentious, and lack a sense of touch.  A grimy, dirty, decaying cityscape makes people look better and places more approachable.  If the place is too clean and perfect it can highlight people’s physical blemishes.  But amongst the context of garbage a lot more people look clean, sexy and pretty because of the contrast.