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Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Rubbish Collection: A peek behind the scenes at the Science Museum

Rubbish has been the subject of numerous art installations over the years. Often commenting on what we throw out and how, the discarding of our leftovers has offered the media a direct source of entertainment whether it’s Landy's art bin or cleaners taking the ‘bins’ out at Tate Britain. We’re obsessed with what others have discarded. The Science Museum’s currently contemporary art/museum documentation/thought provoking environmentalist attempt at an exhibition discussing yet again what we throw out and why offers a fresh perspective on the overused concept of trash.


Inviting visitors, staff and volunteers to the space to collect, photograph and document the wastage artist Joshua Sofaer’s uses the basement gallery to explore what the Science Museum throws away over a 30 day period and gives an explicit and thorough look behind the scenes at the Science Museum.

Upon entry to The Rubbish Collection I anticipated piles of café waste, a lurid smell and an expectation to spend my lunch hour covered in bin juice. Nonetheless I was presently surprised the space was clinically clean, signing a disclaimer and donning a pinny and gloves our group got to work. Neatly sorting through a bag of rubbish from the learning team we carefully arranged several crisp packets and ripped up rotas, and screwed up letter writing attempts.
 Documenting the collection and making discarded bits and bobs look presentable was oddly therapeutic after a long morning in the office. Peeking into the lives of the Science Museum’s staff became gripping and addictive as our team began fill in the gaps, create stories and reason why the things had been discarded.

One man’s trash is another man’s gold and this exhibition provides an insight into the daily life and gossip of the Science Museums staff, the Rubbish Collection team have not only come across the odd crisp packet or love letter but an assortment of strange objects in their quest to document the wastage. Bras, shoes and powerful questions have been retrieved and can be found documented on their Tumblr page.




Thankfully once sorted and photographed the trash goes back into the bins and off to landfill or recycling save for a few interesting pieces. Spend an afternoon acting like a rag and bone man sorting through the rubbish and finding the treasures and stories of life behind the scenes at the Science Museum.

Get your hands dirty until the 14th September 2014. Find out more here: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/rubbishcollection

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