City of Questions, City of Stuff


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Date: August 22-September 3, 2012
Venue: Compatible Bazaar,98 Anshun Rd., Stall 26, Shanghai
Artists: Cheng Jingyan (程精雁), Jianwei Fong (冯建伟), Lucinda Holmes, Lin Yuan (林苑), Wang Yuhong (王煜宏), Zhang Yi (张怡)
Curator: George Kaye
Partner: Xiyitang

“City of Questions, City of Stuff” is a group installation created by six artists working in Shanghai, each contributing a small component of an imaginary city made from materials that might otherwise have been discarded. Each component of the city—an apartment house, a factory, a park – is entitled with a question about waste: Where do my food scraps end up? What is the most useless thing? How many full-time sanitation employees does the city employ?

The artworks are each mounted on pedestals made from construction debris, and stand at eye-height. Visitors can meander through the city “streets” and view the details of each artwork close-up. Visitors are also invited to add their questions about waste to a list that is exhibited on one wall, which will be compiled and delivered to the public affairs officer at the Xuhui District Dept. of Sanitation.


Questions from the wall:

What can I do with the plastic food trays from supermarket ?

What is the second most wasteful species on earth?

Is encouraging consumption in China a waste of money? For example: weddings, banquets.

What kind of building materials are used in the U.S.?

I have a lots of old packaging, how do I deal with these things?

How will you deal with the garbage left over from this exhibition?

How to deal with visual junk?

Are “environmental protection” and “green living” universally accepted?

Does the Government make money through garbage disposal?

Where does municipal wastewater discharge go to?

Where do restaurant leftovers go?

Where is contaminated drain water from toilets discharged?

How can ashes from burning paper products be managed? Is it harmful?

There is dog poop everywhere. What measures is government taking?

How should roadside vendor’s rotting food be processed?

Where are the city’s septic facilities located?

How can empty paint cans be recycled?

How can batteries be separated from trash and recycled?

Can plastic shampoo and soap bottles be recycled?

Vehicles are causing excessive air pollution. How can exhaust be purified?

The continual rebuilding of neighborhood pipelines is causing serious air pollution: is this constant tinkering a kind of waste?

The exhaust fumes from restaurant kitchens located on the first floor of residential neighborhoods is causing air pollution.

Are there too many disposable plastic food containers?

What is proportion of total garbage to total garbage bags?

How many trees have I eaten? Stop using disposable chopsticks.

Waste is not waste, focus on use.

How can we deal with pesticide bottles and bags?

Is waste really wasted?

How much water does your home toilet use each day?

What can not be reused?

Plants! Plants!

What is a real artist?