Wasteland 2023: Streams of Waste explores the multifaceted challenges posed by waste in today's world, which is driven by capitalism, a growth-focused economy, inequalities, environmental crisis, extractivism and techno-optimism. How can we critically explore and deconstruct the well-established assumptions about waste and its management?Wasteland creates a meeting ground for researchers, artists, and activists to examine how waste-related issues are deeply intertwined with ecological, political, economic, and social realities. This year's theme delves into the dynamic nature of waste as a constantly moving entity.
We trace its planetary paths, from creation to disposal, and examine how geopolitical power dynamics shape its impact on local communities, ecosystems, and living beings spanning different temporalities. In times marked by mounting environmental problems and ever-increasing production, it's important to examine the dynamics and effects of pollution and critically reflect on the limits of growth.The festival invites you to gain deeper insight into our reality and begin to imagine possible alternatives.
Wasteland brings together a broad range of voices to unravel complex journeys that materials and digital records take before and after being labelled as waste. We explore the connections between the global North and global South, shaped by centuries of colonialism and structured along supply chains and waste flows that uphold existing systems. These systems have ushered us into the Capitalocene, an era characterised by capitalism's significant role in the ongoing ecological crisis.
Collective.wasteland is an interdisciplinary collective of researchers, artists, anthropologists and designers consisting of Katya Borisova, Yannik Güldner, Leon Lapa Pereira, Erik Peters and Anne Vera Veen.
The current waste crisis is a collective matter, which also requires a collective effort to be resolved. Based on microsolidarity principles, rotating leadership and continuous feedback, the collective aims to explore connections that bind us to people and ecologies on a planetary scale via the phenomenon of waste. In addressing this topic artistic, activistic and industrial viewpoints intersect.
After the first edition of WASTELAND in 2022, created and curated by Yannik Güldner and Leon Lapa Pereira with Anne Vera Veen and Stichting Galerie de Jaloezie, the festival has grown and transformed. It has moved to work with the Stichting Thick Present, with a motivation to jointly gain new understandings engaging with both local and planetary dynamics.
While natural ecosystems function in a never-ending cycle of efficiency and reuse, humanity extracts, transforms and discards materials on a planetary scale. Waste resulting from these activities takes a myriad of forms, ranging from mining by-products to spent nuclear fuel, industrial pollution, unwanted clothing, discarded electronic devices and never-to-be-revisited digital files. Today waste constitutes the most abundant and enduring trace of humankind on the planet (Hird, 2015), with pollutants present in the air, soil, water, ice as well as in living organisms all over the world, even in regions where humans have never set foot (Parker, 2020).Since the onset of mass production and increased consumption, waste generation has grown exponentially.
Today affluent countries of the Global North, including the Netherlands, produce great amounts of waste per capita, which only continues to grow. While in the recent years, considerable efforts have been put into improving recycling technologies and capacity, the Netherlands currently constitutes the biggest exporter of plastic waste to South East Asia and a prominent contributor to marine debris (Navarre et al., 2022, Plastic Soup Foundation, 2022). The work of waste management is invisible. We pay to have waste taken away. Dealing with it is typically regarded as mundane and highly routinised work. However, as Bruno Latour puts it, while “ordinary” practices and institutions, such as those involved in waste management “appear to be absolutely apolitical, ... in their silent, ordinary, fully routinised ways they are perversely, the most important aspects of what we mean by living together ... (Latour, 2007).
Obvious and invisible flows of waste, moved by millions of hands, ships, waters and wind currents often follow colonial patterns and global power inequalities, which they continue to reproduce. (Liboiron, 2021). Although seen as banal, waste constitutes a major global environmental issue, but unlike climate change which receives growing attention, waste flows remain remarkably out of sight, and out of mind (Clark, 2013).The festival sets out to follow their journeys to explore connections and urgencies that bind living beings and ecologies close by and far away.
Anne Vera Veen, Erik Peters, Katya Borisova, Leon Lapa Pereira, Yannik Güldner
Stichting Thick Present
Hans & Hannah
Selina Landis & Clara Lezla
New Edge 666 by Charlotte Rohde
Radio Echo Collective
Vers en Vrij
During the festival there is live radio station reporting from Wasteland’s main festival location in the Grey Space in the Middle, operated by Radio Echo. Radio Echo will create a sonic program with discussions, interviews, artist talks, after-talks and music. The interviews can be listened to on the spot, will be live broadcasted, and can be listened to later on Soundcloud.
Saturday 21th of October: 14:00 - 17:00
Sunday 22th of October: 14:00 - 19:00
Saturday 28th of October: 14:00 - 17:00
Sunday 29th of October: 14:00 - 19:00
If you experience any issues with the radio streaming, please consider switching on desktop
Radio Echo is a location-independent radio collective focused on reverberating stories overshadowed by long-unexamined and -unrevised world views. From an intersectional feminist standpoint we echo stories through our own voices and experiences to work the ground of a landscape for multiple voices to thrive and create vibrations that subvert the main narratives. Radio Echo members are Sophie Allerding, Beatrice Cera, Lina von Jaruntowski, Lea Novi, Emilia Martin and Renata Mirón.
All festival food is provided by Vers&Vrij, a Hague based initiative committed to combating food insecurity and food waste by making the food that would otherwise be thrown away available to people who need it. Every year in the Netherlands people spend about 2.5 billion euro on food that is never consumed. It is estimated that an average person in the country throws away 34 kilos of food a year. At the same time there are 2.5 million people who live below the poverty line and struggle to put a healthy meal on their table.
Vers&Vrij collects leftover meals from catering establishments and healthcare institutions in the Hague, puts them in sealed containers, and places them in one of 26 refrigerators located in various community organisations throughout the city. Anyone who needs a fresh meal can take one or two from such a fridge. In this way Vers&Vrij prevents food waste and helps people who are (temporarily) in dire straits with free and fresh food.You can support their work through donation, volunteering or adopting a fridge. To place more fridges in the city Vers&Vrij also makes and sells tasty products from ingredients that would otherwise go to the bin, such as bread, vegetables, chocolate or coffee. You can try and buy their healthy snacks during the festival.
Refunc is a Dutch/German architectural studio which has a distinctive approach that emphasizes playful experimentation, creating spaces that are both inspiring and functional.
They repurpose existing structures, fostering sustainability and minimizing waste. The periodic system they employ allows them to match materials and objects to functions creatively, opening up endless design possibilities. The shifting of functions in their designs also contributes to an extended lifespan for the structures, adding to their sustainability.
During the festival there will be a live radio station reporting from Wasteland’s main festival location in the Grey Space in the Middle, operated by Radio Echo. Radio Echo will create a sonic program with discussions, interviews, artist talks, after-talks and music. The interviews can be listened to on the spot, will be live broadcasted, and can be listened to later on Soundcloud. The intention of this radio program is to provide the opportunity to the contributors of the festival to elaborate on their contribution, whether this is an artwork, workshop, the catering, or talk, and how this connects to the theme of the festival - Streams of Waste. The recordings can be followed live online (and can thus serve as a live report of the ongoing events), and can later be re-listened to online and serve as a documentation.
WASTELAND 2022 was our first edition, consisting of a 12-day transdisciplinary festival on waste ecologies. An exhibition, a symposium and a few workshops met in one space to experience, learn and make collectively.
Following the saying “one person's trash is another person's treasure,” WASTELAND putted the spot on trash, highlighted the objects and products we throw away daily, and created a space of potential to rethink our current relationship to waste. By creating a vibrant hub for interdisciplinary learning, the public can overcome their disgust and encounter the beauty of trash.
WASTELAND created a multisensory experience where the visitor was able feel, see, smell, hear, touch, learn, and understand waste and its consequences.The hybrid and transdisciplinary structure of WASTELAND is the frame in which the exhibition, the symposium, and the workshops unfolded and took place.
The exhibition offered a departure point for questioning our conception of waste rather than giving an answer, creating a space where worlds merge and entangle, where the pre-composed meets the newborn, where knowledge meets curiosity, where the existing meets the process, an exhibition in flux.
The symposium offered a stage for presentations, lectures, screenings, and panel discussions related to waste. Within three days, waste production, transportation, and transformation were highlighted. Here an exchange between the academic, the public, and cultural fields introduced the audience to learn and expand. Since we are convinced that there is knowledge within the making, five workshops approached diverse craftsmanship. To not only facilitate an exchange of knowledge but a physical experience of making, the workshops allowed the participants to put their learnings and experiences of the festival into practice.