Planet Hero: Basurama - who says art cannot be trashy?!

Ideas. Inspiration. Interaction. That is what Minimum Waste is essentially about and what we want to emphasise with our series ’Planet Hero’, where we introduce you to everyday change-makers in our world’s wasteland.

Ideas. Inspiration. Interaction.

Never before did this description fit our selection of Planet Heroes this much, as with Basurama. Spotlight on!

Basurama is a Spanish artist collective that creates with waste, in wasted space and around waste. The founding members were brought together at the school of architecture in Madrid - deeply unsatisfied with the conventions of their educational programme, they went together to the streets to engage with and learn from the city around them.

Officially founded in 2001, they want to encourage people to reconsider waste, wasted space and wasted energy. In other words, this means by questioning the conventional use of our resources and related to it, the way we think and work with them, they want to make us understand how we perceive reality in general. For this purpose, Basurama decided to explore waste in all its forms.

Credits: Basurama

The key difference is that they do not see waste as most of us see "waste", which has commonly a bad connotation. Instead, Basurama gives waste a whole new meaning - they see waste as a raw material with which to visualise what we usually ignore (i.e. waste). A tool for reflection of something we normally try to hide.

Credits: Basurama

Along the model of waste + wasted space = new public space, they hope to reactivate abandoned public spaces with installations made out of trash.

So far, so good: their projects stretch all over the world, from Madrid to Malabo and from Taipei to Lisbon. Overall more than 100 projects have been realised on four continents. In general, their projects have three central objectives: for one, to point out the sheer amount of constant waste production, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we produce too much waste every single day. Two, to train communities with little economic resources (the places of their projects are always strategically chosen) skills with which they can convert their own waste into a productive resource. And lastly, their projects are to establish a common platform for social interaction and community-building.

They created, for instance, colourful playgrounds made from common landfill waste (e.g. old tires, wooden pallets or discarded plastics). Another project was "Navidad en RE", a 3D - art installation made out of trash produced by citizens and institutions that focused on the waste created during the Christmas period.

Credits: Basurama

Who says art cannot be trashy?

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