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Eugène Poubelle Galaxy

La Rochelle, France

evolution and history, it is an invitation to see garbage with different eyes. Today we are suffering the consequences of this uncontrolled growth in consumption that is not solved enough with acceptable recycling systems such as the one in France. It is important to raise awareness about our consumption. Series printed on lightboxes which refers to that feeling of galaxies, and that somehow invite the viewer to question what it means the footprint of man and his waste.

For the title, I started to research the history of recycling and garbage treatment in France and its evolution, I found that in 1883 Eugène Poubelle had invented what we know today as garbage containers and that today bears his surname -poubelle- -paperboard-.

As a curious fact, France is one of the countries most involved in the current issue of recycling, and its evolution dates from the sixteenth century when it began to raise awareness to solve the problems of urban neglect suffered by large cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Caen. Since then, the garbage was divided into two main groups: those that were to be used as fertilizer and those that went to landfills on the outskirts of the city. Then came the improvement of the sewage systems that determined the progress of these cities in the 19th century, much later with the industrial revolution and the world wars forced the population to systematically recycle metals to manufacture weapons, railroads, or ammunition. The reconstruction periods that followed the two armistices created new sources of waste, which was recycled by the construction industry.

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This is a series I conceived during my residency at Centre Intermondes in the city of La Rochelle, France. In my process of observation to find something to work with about my stay in the port city, I focused on the Rue du Palais which is the main commercial street, in it, you can find corridors with columns dating from the eighteenth century, these columns are illuminated with spotlights to highlight the historical importance of the city.

I realized that on Wednesday nights the visual changed: the stores threw away their recyclable waste that day, this plastic waste is put in transparent yellow bags and placed next to the lights that are on the floor (they can not place them on top of the lights), that day I wanted to make an installation in situ by simply placing all the bags on top of the closest light, and so I could portray the mystery that hid the transparency and the reflection that arose when mixing the elements: history-tourism-consumption.

And because resources were scarce, the French sometimes recycled certain everyday objects themselves, such as used clothing or old buttons. But at the end of World War II, the country entered fully into the "trente glorieuses" (the thirty glorious years). And everything changed in its wake. 


During these three decades of economic growth, industrial production intensified, and each citizen of France generated an average of 250 kilos of waste per year in 1960. This figure would only increase over the years, as consumption continued to grow. But at that time, new waste was also a new problem. After decades of systematic pollution of the oceans, the 1972 London Convention banned the dumping of certain hazardous wastes, such as industrial sludge and radioactive materials. This series is a tribute to these 5 centuries of 

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