ecoArt China Speaker Series: Joshua Goldstein on recycling in Beijing

ecoArt China Speaker Series
Joshua Goldstein
Remains of the Everyday:
A Century of Recycling in Beijing

Free Webinar | September 23, 2021 at 7pm MDT

Register Now

Remains of the Everyday traces the changing material culture and industrial ecology of China through the lens of recycling, placing the sustainability and plastic pollution crises of our present day into historical and global context. On the one hand, the Chinese state has repeatedly promoted acts of voluntary recycling as exemplary of conscientious citizenship. On the other, China’s informal recycling networks—such as the collectors of plastic and cardboard in Beijing’s neighborhoods today–have been represented as undisciplined, polluting, and technologically primitive though in fact they have been the engine of a highly complex globalized recycling system reaching into household trashbins across North America. Dr. Goldstein’s talk will address the human and environmental impact and intrinsic liminality of recycling as an economic process and the role of these marginalized migrant workers who have been at the center of the global scrap trade in the 21st century.

Remains of the Everyday: A Century of Recycling in Beijing. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021.

About ecoArt China

ecoArt China is an exhibition of artworks that respond to ecological disasters in China and across the planet. The exhibition is curated by Lisa Claypool, Associate Professor of History of Chinese Art and Design (University of Alberta), on the principles of ancient Chinese correlative thinking about the five elemental phases of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Each of the exhibiting artists examine collective and personal experiences of environmental crises associated with those phases, such as river pollution, deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels, waste production, and mining. They test the power of art to change the way we see ourselves and the planet.

About the Speaker Series

The ecoArt China Speaker Series is convened by Dr. Lisa Claypool, and is co-organized by the University of Alberta China Institute, the Department of Art & Design’s Curatorial Design Research Lab, and the Sustainability Council, with support from the Kule Institute.

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