Science Museum summer exhibition looks like being pure rubbish

By Ellen Harper | 22 April 2014

Artist Joshua Sofaer is in disbelief as the Science Museum awaits his rubbish show, inviting the public to wade through

A photo of a huge mound of rubbish
The Rubbish Collection - Grundon Waste Management Facility, Colnbrook© Science Museum
A load of rubbish will pump through an exhibition by Joshua Sofaer this summer, reflecting a month’s waste by the Science Museum in a “visual archive” of junk helped by visitors, staff and contractors as part of the resident Climate Changing programme.

A photo of a pile of lightbulbs
Lamps play their part© Science Museum
Artist Sofaer will create the exhibition, called The Rubbish Collection, during the museum’s climate change week. The public are invited to join him on an adventure through rubbish disposal from Monday June 16.

“I think it is brave of the Science Museum to allow this project to happen – actually, I can’t quite believe they have,” says the artist, who previously created a human scavenger hunt for the Tate.

“Museums generally display items that have some special status, that are rare or valuable. But in this project, I want to give the 'museum treatment' to the stuff it would normally throw away.

“It's already been an extraordinary process learning more about the different waste streams. I would urge people to come and get stuck in and open up a bin bag.

“We will be able to see exactly what a giant museum throws out in an average month and learn something about what happens to it when it leaves the building.”

Sofaer’s aim is to allow visitors to see the beauty and volume of the things we no longer want, creating an eight-week exhibition which the public can stroll through and engage with.

“The notion of Science Museum visitors sorting through the museum’s rubbish is in many ways quite absurd,” admits Sarah Harvey, the Project Curator.

“But Sofaer is playing with the conventions of what we do as a Museum – our role of collecting, researching and exhibiting precious and important objects – and exposing the intrinsic value and importance of rubbish in a creative and unexpected way.”


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a man and a woman in hard hats watching rubbish pass on a conveyor belt
Artist Joshua Sofaer and Project Curator Sarah Harvey© Science Museum
A photo of a large square made out of rubbish and cans and tins
Sofaer sent teams racing around London gathering rubbish for Scavengers at Tate Modern© Science Museum
A photo of loads of rubbish in a warehouse next to a digger
The museum's Climate Changing programme accompanies the Atmosphere gallery© Science Museum
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