Back from a Waste Stories journey

We’ve been a bit quiet recently, partly because we’ve been expressing some of our waste stories energies through our daughter site, Future Archaeologies of Waste, and particularly through our work with the Solway Firth Partnership and the Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Working Group on Future Archaeologies of Marine Litter. In that project, we tok a very specific take on story-making for a specific type of waste/problem – the rubbish that washes up on Scotland’s western and island shorelines. I’ll write more about the process in an upcoming blog post on that site. If you happen to be in Rothesay, Eigg, Islay or Stromness this summer, please do go and visit one of the resulting exhibits – the virtual exhibition has the advantage of bringing them all together, but the individual physical ones have a physical immediacy that brings you close to the former owners of the wasted objects in much the same way that objects on display in archaeological museums do.

We’ve also started to develop the whole idea of Future Archaeologies of Waste a bit further, adding a second strand that focuses on the remnants and traces of obsolete technologies, particularly of communication and division, that can be found in the landscape.

These two conceptual explorations join up with another physical exploration and also a second cause of absence from this blog. George and I (and for part of the time, Greg) have been travelling, telling Waste Stories, seeing evidence of different waste cultures and wasting perfectly good opportunities in new places. And also discovering, to my surprise, that most trains in Europe don’t have wifi. Given we don’t have a smartphone and we spent days (and nights) on trains travelling about 5000 miles to Varna and back via various locations, we really couldn’t access the internet for quite a bit of July.

Our journey took in stops at Crewe, Falmouth, London, Belgrade, Varna, Ruse, Budapest, Admont, Bruck, Fribourg and Montbard, as well as many other train stations in between. The occasion for this circualtion was the Northern Hemisphere summer summer season of academic conferences. I (Anna) gave a presentation based on Waste Stories at the Haunted Landscapes conference in Falmouth, and we (Anna and George) entertained delegates at the Deleuze and Guattari Studies conference in Belgrade. If you are interested, you can look at our presentations on the resources page of this site.

I’ll add a separate post about the Balkan part of our Waste Stories journey soon.

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