Work : Surprise-Parti(e)

Action which involved transforming the public waste bins of the cities of Marseille, Arles and Aix-en-Provence into surprise boxes intended for the ‘starving and the needy’. Each waste container was wrapped in pink paper and decorated with appropriate stickers. Several dozen waste bins were used for this project throughout 2013.

Location : Marseille, Arles, Aix-en-provence, France, 2013.

Reference text :

Saturday January 12, 2013, Planète Marseille,

When I was little, I was little… The smallest in my class.
To compensate, I tried to have humor (…) I perfectly remember the day when I made fun of a friend whose cheeks were red with unsightly pimples by singing to her at the top of my voice: “Tonight I will be there trash can to go dancing.” His friend, who was two heads taller than me, didn’t find it funny and put me in one of them shortly after.
Yes, you read correctly, I spent my recess locked in a container, with a big oaf sitting on the lid, that’s how much I know anything about it.
The smell followed me for a whole day.
To tell the truth, it came back to me often during my world tour. Few countries have efficient waste collection systems. Elsewhere, residents manage as best they can. What is not burned, eaten by stray animals, ends up flying away in the four winds, giving entire cities the false appearance of giant landfills. Not to mention these no man’s lands where the cargoes of rubbish pile up to the smoking skies that we generously abandon there by super tankers.
Here, among other problems, our model of mass hyperconsumption generates mountains of residue on a daily basis, a process of high entropy as good old Clausius would say.
France produces 355 million tonnes of garbage in one year, the world 4 billion.
And trash, trash and a half – or rather half. Because, as incredible as it seems, nearly 50% of the food products purchased end up uneaten at the bottom of the containers while many, even in our opulent country, do not have the means to eat anywhere other than « restaurants of the heart ». « .
I discovered this smelly paradox during one of my researches on the economic crisis.
Perhaps it is born from the principle which once recommended “eating according to one’s state” – social state that is – today leaving the seventh heaven of starred restaurants to the well-born, the volatile nobles and the beggars the juice of trash cans and wine dregs?
“Rather a problem of flow management, of confused moods” a carabin from Montpellier could have muttered in the Middle Ages, applying “Tacuinum sanitatis” to the earth.
He probably would have been right. Let’s not be Manichean, let’s not pit one against the other.

We must think of the system in terms of flow and dynamics. During our lives, we all oscillate more or less from one state to another: one day wasteful, one day needy. This is why I wanted, using the nostalgic metaphor, to title this action: “Pleasure of giving, joy of receiving”. Things go both ways.
As in the passionate territories of love, the too full and the too empty unite and recombine endlessly.
However, the situation is no less serious. At the time, this ungrateful schoolgirl with whom I was undoubtedly a little infatuated caused me a little disappointment. By looking once again at a trash can, I wanted to put it into perspective by comparing it to the real humiliation that those who use it experience every day. Doing it in Marseille, the city of the Fini-Parti, seemed wise to me. History of bouncing to the tune of Schnippel Disko the images that followed one another in me.
The misery of these ever-increasing shadows who have no choice but to dig into other people’s shit. The conviction of a Tristam Stuart who organizes banquets with our trash to better stick our noses in the poop. We in the middle, caught between the consumption habits that are imposed on us and the guilt of the wealthy of the earth that is imposed on us just as much. The fear too, that of being in our turn a commodity wasted by this monstrous social crusher, of ending up on the street, « in the trash » precisely, while we could still be useful: This is what haunts us, the evil genius which comes out when we lift the lid.
Transform the trash containers of Marseille into surprise bags “for the use of the hungry and the needy”… Not complicated: a little colored paper, a few stickers. A little is always enough to indulge in Street art, pay homage to Christo’s exciting new realism, deliver a scathing parody of my humanitarian desires, try urban poetry and slam on a concept with a singing accent:
Gone. Surprise party. Hunger Party. Game over…
Yo Yo Good Mother, keep your eyes open, this year Marseille will be in “trash” life mode.

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