The “junk art” movement has arisen out of a contemporary preoccupation with waste material, and ecologically conscious artists have arrived at a variety of innovative ways to create awareness about humanity’s impact on the environment. But it is not very often that individuals are able to fully stress on the ramifications of consumerism and waste without sounding or seeming didactic. Juan Uribe is a Barcelona-based arts practitioner who has embarked on the task of documenting methods or discarding waste in the Spanish city, avoiding an overly moralistic tone in his non-judgemental, investigative efforts.
Says Uribe of his interest in the relationship between waste material and consumer behaviour: “I like shooting objects that bear residual traces of a long process and a short life, as they represent a path marked by forms and times that ultimately leads to incineration. They are the footprints of something consumed in the act, the act that was part of happiness and now belongs to nothing. Massive social dynamics laden with amnesia and desire have been transformed into garbage and toxic air.” Through his photographs, which are devoid of artistic embellishment, we see for ourselves the carelessness of how we use and dispose of everyday objects, as the collective material memory of society becomes ever shorter and easily forgotten.
Images courtesy of the artist.