Wildcat Hauling: Working with Waste in Public Space, the latest installation by FICTILIS, will be showing in the Atrium Gallery from February 5 to March 20.
Wildcat Hauling is an ongoing project which takes place in the streets of West Oakland, California. Drawing on our respective backgrounds—12 years as a junk hauler, and 6 years working on global e-waste and sustainability issues—FICTILIS began responding to illegal dumping in the neighborhood where we live and work in 2012, recruiting local junk haulers to join us in conducting coordinated pickups of illegal dumping sites.
At a time when gentrification is impacting the neighborhood profoundly, people coming from different places can be hard-pressed to find an issue on which we can agree. Illegal dumping is such an issue: its causes and consequences are complicated, but most residents in affected areas are united in opposition to garbage in the streets obstructing travel, polluting air and water, and continually attracting more more dumping and other unwanted activities.
The proposed solutions to dumping are often more (and faster) of the usual—removal by City staff and contracted haulers, enforcement and penalties, and development of affected areas—and do little to address the underlying issues of waste and poverty which contribute to the phenomenon. Often they merely push the problem down the line, downstream and downwind, into other communities.
Because illegal dumping is a highly visible deviation from standard waste flows, where materials are usually hidden, handled only by mechanized equipment or specialized personnel and contained during transport and processing in inaccessible places, dumping represents a unique opportunity to get broader social and environmental issues out into the open. In addition to removing garbage, Wildcat Hauling volunteers document the process and perform various interventions designed to encourage consideration of these broader issues.
Opening reception for the installation is February 5 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.