The easiest treasure hunt around

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, as the saying goes. What better way to illustrate this than websites like craigslist, kijiji or freecycle?

Our relationship to waste has been slowly changing over the last decade. This has taken on a new dimension with increased internet accessibility to almost every person on the planet. It was only a matter of time before networking sites would become as common as sliced bread,   inevitably making the world a smaller place.

Especially popular with out of town students who only stay in one place a semester at a time, the above mentioned websites allow users to easily find what they are looking for at bargain prices, or for free.

There is the obvious bonus of saving money and the more subtle effects of a decrease in overall environmental impact. The item has only been packaged once and the exchange is usually local. It also employs all three of the “3Rs” by reducing waste, recycling and reusing. Neighborly transactions also helps to strengthen communities. What could be a better deal than that?

Our relationship to waste was taken to a whole new level this weekend when organizers of the Infringement Festival (IF) launched the Dumpster Dive Art Drive. In an effort to redefine and challenge preconceived ideas of space, garbage and recycled waste, artists and participants gathered in an alleyway, drank wine from paper bags and transformed the space into a vernissage filled with original Montreal art.

Some of the resulting artwork, which is all for sale, includes “Culture in a Cup; Montreal in its purest.” In this cup, you have all of the finest elements of the Montreal “joie de vivre”; cigarette butts, hair, discarded tissue all nicely framed in a used disposable cup, for only $300.

This edgy, satirical relationship to waste demonstrates a different dimension; that we are surrounded by discarded remnants of privilege. Other regions of the world are not so lucky.

Under fire by Greenpeace several years ago, Apple computers were being investigated because of their electronic waste disposal habits. With the campaign “Green my Apple“, the rogue environmental group took the popular computer company to task for dumping wires, toxic materials and un-recyclable computer guts in the poorest regions of the world.

Apple agreed to some of Greenpeace’s demands in 2007 and removed several of the most toxic elements from their computers, such as Brominated Fire Retardants and Polyvinyl Chloride, although electronic waste is still a major problem.

While it’s hard to imagine living in such close proximity to such deathly waste, art demonstrations like Dumpster Dive Art Drive brings us face to face with a severe problem, and has fun with it.

Join the infringement festival crew as a spectator or an artist at Bar Bifteck (3702 St. Laurent) at 3 pm on Sunday June 27 to get sustainably creative!

A child in China sits in electronic waste

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