Trash People by HA Schult – Extreme Recycling For the Masses
“Today’s Coca-Cola bottle is the Roman archaeological find of tomorrow. The pyramids of the present are the garbage dumps”, announced artist HA Schult back in 1999, a statement that rings true in every modern society of the world.
Excavating archaeological digs across the globe have previously found wonders such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, not to mention the amazing things previous generations left behind on the surface, such as the Great Pyramids, the Colosseum and the Greek Parthenon!
Yet what will future generations think of us when they dig up not treasures, but miles and miles of garbage in one of the world’s many landfill sites – there are over 4,000 landfill locations in the UK alone!
An Army of Trash People
Determined to do something about our excessive consumerism and our ‘throw away’ society, Schult created Trash People, a breathtaking collection of 1000 ‘people’ formed out of items we bin on a daily basis – old computers, tin cans and assorted plastic pieces.
Requiring more than 6 months and a team of 30 assistants to complete, these Trash People have travelled the world, popping up alongside magnificent monuments such as the Pyramids of Giza, or dotted along the Great Wall of China. They’ve even taken a trip to Antarctica!
As an artwork, Trash People is simply outstanding. Looking at pictures, it’s difficult to imagine just how awe-inspiring and impressive these exhibitions must have been, a veritable army of life-sized ‘rubbish’ people stretching almost as far as the eye can see.
Extreme Recycling With A Meaning
As a commentary on modern society however, Schult’s work becomes even more interesting. These lifelike figures are intended to represent all of the anonymous individuals who have contributed to our history - such as those that constructed the Pyramids, who remain nameless and forgotten.
So too, do they represent our modern society’s attitude to rubbish; the Trash People are images of ourselves, producing trash at a phenomenal rate, eventually becoming ‘trash’ ourselves.
Plus of course, it is inspiring to see what one man decided to do with a city’s trash, reworking it into something that is both amazing and meaningful rather than letting it add yet another layer to a nearby landfill site. It’s a tiny drop in the ocean of waste we throw away every day, but a significant one nonetheless!
Have you ever done anything out of the ordinary with your household waste? Tell us in the comments below and we may feature you on our blog!
Don’t forget to check out last week’s blog to see what a group of Monks in Thailand did with 1.5 million glass bottles.