Müll trashed мусор
by Henry Whittlesey
Photos - Pэryp@tet!k Media, Amiya Kaczmar
One of the most prominent aspects of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York, is trash. You are confronted with it everywhere in every form: on the street, in front yards, at schools, in crinkled packaging strewn across the street like the McDonald's wrappers at Alexanderplatz in Castorf's Bayreuth production of Siegfried this year, in mountains piled at the curb, in stains marking its past presence like the black dots of gum spit out:
This slightly-different-from-a-California-beach berm may be astonishing in front of a school, but it is surely topped by the actual productive use of trash to prevent you from slipping in the supermarket:
But don't get the idea that this is some critique of American, working class neighborhoods or anything of the like.
Trash appears in remarkable fashion around the world.
In Dublin we unpackage the items stocked on our shelves and toss the boxes right in front of the store, next to the bus stop, so bored passengers waiting for a ride can read the labels and come back to buy them:
And sometimes when you enter a house we embellish the entrance not like this one in London's Brick Lane:
but like this:
In Munich we have very orderly clean containers in pretty colors of yellow and blue that don't have to be chained to the fence as in Brooklyn:
But the trash virus seems to have even infected us here, too - although it is quite orderly relative to what we have seen:
It's unclear whether the English or the Americans or someone else thought up this way of offering used sneakers to the public - or, better, the idea of used sneakers, since you can't actually recycle them very easily - but the show window is great:
And if you can't get to London tomorrow - don't worry: we have them in Brooklyn as well:
Of course, appropriately - Air Jordans here.
In general it seems that in London we fall somewhere in the middle of a spectrum between New York and Munich. Yes, we have shoes hanging from lines and piles of trash in bags, but pretty colored containers are also rolled out of housing projects on a regular basis, probably gradually replacing metallic ones:
Whether this falls under trash or not, we can't help but admire exposed cabling in the London tube - i.e. subway. You would swear that we love cables, electricity, the gritty underside of life when you stand at stations - both outdoors and indoors - throughout the city:
And really, this is indoors.
In contrast to the municipal authorities and local residents, we find companies around the world to be quite systematic about their trash. Our plant here in Ukraine packages piles of bottles just like we do in Brooklyn:
But surely there is a more amusing way of crumpling and recycling trash! For that, however, we have to return to Germany, head down to Bavaria and return to 2011: