the work of WIND AIR LAND SEA


04:00 pm

Ecologies of Waste
A Conversation

Amanda Boetzkes, Synthetic Collective, Myra J. Hird, Sara Hughes

From the great garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, to microplastics in the Great Lakes Region, to 34 million tons of municipal waste in Canada according to the latest statistics, waste and plastic pollution is both a global and local issue. This event, hosted within Museo Aero Solar, brings together artists, scientists, and researchers to share their work on the waste crisis and creative pathways to remediation and sustainability.



Amanda Boetzkes ’s research and publications focus on the intersection of visual and creative practices with the biological sciences (particularly ecology and neurology). She is currently completing a book entitled Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste, which examines the interplay between the aesthetics of contemporary art, global systems of energy use, and the life cycle of garbage. She is an Associate Professor of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Guelph.

Synthetic Collective is an interdisciplinary collaboration between visual artists, cultural workers and scientists working together to sample, map, understand, and visualize the complexities of plastics and micro-plastics pollution in the Great Lakes Region. Their enquiry is at the intersections of plastics pollution, geologic processes, and artistic production. The collective is working to expand its network of resources and researchers with the goal of developing a more tangible understanding of plastics pollution as a wicked problem: one that is both a local and global systemic issue, yet also a potential site for innovation and remediation. Kelly Jazvac, Kirsty Robertson, and Kelly Wood represent the collective for this event.

Myra J. Hird directs Canada’s Waste Flow (CWF), an interdisciplinary research program connecting people interested in the topic of waste to consider Canada’s waste future. Researchers at CWF study the movement, processing, treatment, and after-effects of diverse waste streams, including by-products of mining, nuclear energy, biomedicine, and domestic waste linked to larger issues such as overconsumption, settler colonialism, intra- and extra-governmental relations, and public dialogue. Hird is a Professor in the School of Environmental Studies.

Sara Hughes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her work is aimed at better understanding the politics and governance of urban waste, and her research interests include urban politics, policy, and governance, water policy, and climate change policy. She focuses on understanding how political interests, institutions, and environmental problems interact at the urban scale, and the social and environmental outcomes they generate.