the second that changes everything

detail of chinese landscape / 垃圾山水 No.8 (2014) 

a friend asked me the other day if I was 'lab sab po', a 'trash lady'. it made me laugh. but actually this is a serious question and the offensiveness of the term shows our lack of appreciation for waste. waste is not waste; we declare it to be 'waste' 'rubbish' 'trash'. but it is still what it is: a plastic bottle, a broken branch, a paper cup... the moment the plastic bottle slips out of my hand, its terminology changes from a desirable, advertised, prized object to something apprehended as useless and worthless. from something convenient, nice, something we might even identify with, to something disgusting, repulsive, untouchable. in this split second the perception of this object completely changes. the bottle is still the bottle. but the value we give it has shifted. what are we thinking? are we thinking? i don't get my head around this...

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