Notes on waste, water, whatever
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The lateral movement of goods

Some time ago, I don’t know when and I don’t know how, I received in the mail a packet of hand-printed beautifully designed oaktag labels, meant to be affixed to unwanted household chattel placed on the sidewalk for scavengers. (That’s my fan, below. It disappeared from the street within an hour.)

There’s a piece on this project, the brainchild of artist Sarah Nicole  Phillips, at Discard Studies. As you’ll see, the tags are meant to “facilitate the smooth operation of the informal sidewalk gift economy. Those who place objects on the curb for people to pick up may now indicate the condition of the object to folks by ticking the appropriate box on the tag.”

Note the category “Is infested with creatures.” Since bed bugs have recrudesced in my city (New York), I’ve become super-wary of bringing secondhand goods into my home. The freegans, who explicitly promote this economy through dumpster diving and the exchange of used goods at their Really, Really Free Markets, don’t seem too concerned with getting or giving bed bugs.  My reliably well-informed freegan source in Brooklyn knows of just two freegans since 2005 who’ve dealt with the nasty critters, “an extremely low rate for a community that reuses a lot, including post consumer stuff straight off the street.” Interesting, eh?

To read more about the status tags and order some for yourself, visit Sarah’s website.

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