Blog post

Owen Hatherley on "the refusal to admit that shit exists"

Sarah Shin29 September 2010

Evoking Milan Kundera, Owen Hatherley notes that "the refusal to admit that shit exists" is a particular problem in Great Britain—a country that "has all but abolished public toilets."

In the Guardian, the author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain ponders why wheelie bins provoke such savage reactions from the nation's well-heeled. From the woman who complained that the green removables devalued her property, to the private estates with no functioning waste disposal apparatus at all, Hatherley believes this obsession with rubbish belies deeper ideological unease:

The real reason why bins, especially recycling bins, offend so much is that they are a constant reminder of the quantity of rubbish we produce. And some of the best political thought and writing today is based on glorying in this abundance of reject matter. In Ellis Sharp's astonishing novel The Dump, an entire society is embodied in an enormous pile of waste; Rejectamentalist Manifesto, the website of his fellow novelist China Miéville, uses detritus as a form of political critique; while the American writer Evan Calder Williams has called for a "Salvagepunk" of reassembled trash. Here, reactivated rubbish has become a return of the repressed.

Please join Owen Hatherley at the Southbank Centre and LRB Shop this November to hear more.

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

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