Glossary of Terms, Phrases, & Thought Experiments

Artful Trash Management
Strategic practices that creatively harvest waste streams. Practical work combined with symbolic gestures revealing alternatives to the current business as usual of ‘waste management’… Philosophy in action with a sense of humor: serious fun fostering systematic redemption of the stuff we produce and discard. Flester futures forecast waste streams worth harvesting and speculates on their symbolic, visceral, ecological, and economic values…

Making artful use of what’s at hand, a bricoleur is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks. Whether by choice or necessity - resources are drawn from the contingent remains of previous constructions and destructions.° A practical antidote to waste, bricolage engenders intellectual appreciation and social engagement with what would otherwise be discarded. A theory and practice that regards and employs “waste” as the resource it is. A human ecological adaptation to the industrial age.

Systems within systems of interrelatedness. Nested interdependencies at microcosmic and macrocosmic scales. From the earthling perspective, the set of natural systems which together in concert sustain all life on the planet. Indeed for some, the planet itself understood as an organism…

Practical efforts & symbolic gestures fostering improvements to degraded ecological systems - human and otherwise…

A comforting and illusory concept that lulls us into thinking that we are substantial enduring bodies within an environment that may or may not affect us. While the environmental movement champions important ecological causes the very term environment tends to reinforce certain culturally current ideas that undermine robustly ecological and ethological concepts.

An approach to defining earthlings – human and other animals, creatures, plants and other beings capable of being affected – in terms of their capacities for and of being affected.* For instance, rather than defining beings in terms of their morphological characteristics, we find relations with other things and creatures definitive characteristics. An ecological, rather than substantive, approach to understanding ‘things’.

A word derived from the memory of a cartoon,ª flesters are discarded things, “found objects,” any “thing” at all that we presume to be in some way isolated from its context… Fragments of formerly functional contrivances, flesters are touted as universally useful objects. By making manifest symbolic, intellectual, and social dimensions of discarded things, flestering encourages promiscuous and proliferative notions of function & utility. Exhibit A (PDF) The theory of flesters affirms flestering as a practice closely related to bricolage

Flester Futures
Flesters have always been and will always be… We live in an age were discards abound in our landfills, waterways, and airsheds… Yet they tend to be rendered insignificant, invisible, and of negligible legibility within our cultural landscape… Addressing this illegibility within our cultural landscape flester futures is one strategy within Artful Trash Management proposing playfully and in earnest to forecast and creatively redeem waste streams on the model of speculating on the future economic value of pork bellies or barrels of oil…

Helper Brothers & Sisters Unite
Join the cast of characters celebrating the worth of coming to terms with ‘waste.’ Willingly muck around with riverine detritus, flotsam, and jetsam. Redeem the discards our culture produces and make productive – if symbolic – use of flesters. Believe in and support fulfillment that does not depend on productions of consumption. Advocate for creative harvesting of waste streams at personal, intellectual, and industrial scales. Support flester futures…
Get Involved.

Human Animals
Within culturally dominant assumptions – primarily that humans are somehow exceptional to rather than a part of nature – this phrase seems contradictory. Yet from a common sense point of view we are surely animals rather than plants, minerals etc… The phrase is interesting and valuable in that it lays bare our ambivalence with regard to our relation to ‘nature’.

Human Ecology
As human animals living on earth at the cusp of the 21st century, we distinguish ourselves as the class of creatures that most alters ecologies sustaining all creatures… This dubious distinction reflects our sense of ourselves as exceptional to - rather than a part of - nature.` We deform nature and ourselves by regarding ourselves exceptional and presuming to behave with impunity. Human ecology is an oxymoron that describes our thoroughgoing immersion within nature and promises greater recognition of our role as participant in the destiny of ecologies we impact…

Urban watershed signatures; riverine detritus crushed, consolidated, & condensed; returned to their site of collection. Contrived hybrid flesters; abstract, impressionist, symbolic props aiming to bewilder, provoke, and inspire awareness & action… RiverCubes express the gravity of our human ecological condition with lighthearted strategies for awakening our sense of solidarity with nature. Intervening in the business of ‘waste as usual’ RiverCubes are aspiring ecoventions with a sense of humor…

A fictitious concept, like most concepts. Waste derives from the idea that if something falls outside a narrow view of usefulness it is worthless.
Trash, Junk, Garbage, Refuse, Scrap, Etc.… Pseudonymous conspirators in support of waste concepts…

° Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind
Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza
ª Roz Chast Cartoon
Baruch Spinoza, Ethics


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