‘Gartbagé’ Goes to Waste In Inclement Weather
In the midst of this real, worthless trash, however, was a hidden treasure: a table of found object art—trash for the discerning connoisseur.
While the inflatable gladiator games survived the rainy Saturday Springfest, the waterlogged flyers and plastic-covered textbooks of the “Gartbagé” exhibit melted in the downpour.
The centerpiece of the table was a typewriter crowned by a crumpled piece of gold paper and flanked by old newspaper pages, flyers, and books as well as a 2003 bottle of Oz wine and some tape. A textbook entitled “Plastics Engineering Handbook: Third Edition” paid a grateful homage to the plastic tarp thrown over the table as rain protection. Flyers came from the Cambridge and Allston area, including a Banks Street crime report and an ad for the “Bottles and Cans: Allston Redemption Center.”
While these local artifacts might have held some relevance had they not been practically unreadable on the drenched surface, some sort of label or explanation would have helped to connect them artistically with the bottle of wine and the tape.
Students and pre-frosh scurried past the exhibit, perhaps because they were unaware of its artful worth or perhaps because they were unable to distinguish it from the growing heap of real trash sprouting around it. Maybe it was too cleverly camouflaged by the camera equipment and electrical wires that a careless festival employee had stashed under the table as a haven from the rain. Clearly, he did not see the artistic value of trash.
As Susan S. Lee ’08 wandered by the exhibit, she mentioned that she had thought this was “just a table in the back” until she saw the drenched “Gartbagé” sign.
The concept was a relevant one for the renewal of resources and preservation of society’s artifacts, but the exhibit was given neither the proper effort nor care. It was thrown together like so much trash.
Some objects are never meant to be found. And some should be featured prominently. Alas, these found objects deserved a more fitting destiny—either a proper burial in the adjacent trash can or a visible pedestal, not the ignominy of rain-soaked silence.