Travelling Around Taipei with Garbage Trucks

ARTIST: Prototype Paradise
ARTWORK/YEAR: Travelling Around Taipei with Garbage Trucks (2015)
REGION: East and Southeast Asia
RESEARCHER: Peng-Chu Hsiung, Ai-Ming Lo

Travelling Around Taipei with Garbage Trunks connects clean squads, neighborhood, and passers-by, offering trash-dumping residents and cleaners some more interesting joint memories. The activities were divided into two types: street performance and BusStory. The former responded to particular landscape and human ambience, organizing three routes for different street performances. In Sanchong District, New Taipei, garbage and recycle trunks were transformed into merrymaking festooned carnival floats. In Daan District, Taipei, nondescript daily objects and discarded trash were transformed into beautiful, lightweight dolls matching the role of cleaners as “urban magician” who eliminates dirtiness to keep the city clean. In Songshan District, Taipei, four garbage-collecting experimental theaters were planned along the garbage collection route, each for 5-10 minutes only, demonstrating artists’ delightful fantasy of trash-dumping time and affectionate observation towards their environment. BusStory, the latter, required participants to bring one piece of “trash that represents Taipei” on the ride to exchange for life stories with a tour guide played by a cleaner.

Travelling Around Taipei with Garbage Trunks, curated by Prototype Paradise, grasps the meeting moment of trash-dumping urban residents. Through a public art action plan involving artistic forms like performance, theater, installation, music, etc., the routine behavior of collecting and dumping garbage becomes an art campaign of interaction between residents and cleaners. The curatorial team translated life experiences, looked for a breach to change routine business, and connected people by artistic action. In BusStory, a part of the plan, cleaners played the role of a tour guide, who described their professional experiences to the audience or conducted a guided tour of garbage collection route, in order to represent urban scenes in someone else’s life.

On three weekends from Oct. 30 to Nov. 21, 2015, the executive team went with cleaners to collect garbage. Through artistic forms like performance, theater, installation, music, etc., they performed on the street and interacted with the public. Besides street performance, BusStory was created to let urban residents get to know Taipei from the personal perspectives of cleaners. The audience takes the BusStory on a tour and hears life stories and professional experiences of urban cleaning from a cleaner/tour guide, thus learning about the city from a new viewpoint.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency