chapter  2
Using art to research diverse economies
Social experiments in re-valuing waste
ByMax Liboiron
Pages 16

Waste is an economic category that pertains to objects when they are deemed valueless. As objects circulate into different contexts, they become more or less valuable, more or less ‘trash,’ and provide a lens through which to see different systems of value. This chapter is based upon an analysis of Salt-winning, a trash-art installation created by the author where visitors were invited to take any art object so long as they left behind something of equal or greater value. Several spontaneous ‘economic rules’ developed that revalued recovered waste in non-capitalist frameworks, including sacrifice economies, moral economies, and relative values adjudicated through labor and modes of production. In Salt-winning, participants consistently demonstrated a range of non-capitalist modes of valuation that concretely un-trashed the art despite its clear origins in the waste stream.