Click to preview The Taxonomy of Trash photo book

On October 9, 2011 a group of artists converged at the Revolution Recovery recycling center in Philadelphia to participate in the Recycled Artist-in-Residency program (RAIR). The resulting work is The Taxonomy of Trash.

The idea originated with the belief that beauty existed amongst the piles and needed to be collected, cataloged, photographed and recorded to allow that awkward charm to come forward. The approach was to find and document objects that were captivating without the need to be altered —sculpture that was made without any human intent.

Tim spent most of the day digging through the mountainous jumble selecting these treasures. As the objects were collected, Carlos photographed them and Austen made sound recordings by installing microphones in the objects and then dropping, hitting, playing and warping them. The sounds have been used to create musical tracks that accompany the project. Raul documented the entire process on video.

The finished photographs were sent to Stacey, a biologist, who categorized them using the Phylogenetic Tree of Life. This categorized them primarily based on the material compounds found in each object. This taxonomy shows the connections between the objects and their development.

More information about the project can be found on the website at

The end product is a visual, intellectual and aural celebration of garbage.


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