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Rubbish is coming to Birkbeck this summer: a series of events on reading the matter and metaphors of waste and value in and through spaces, objects and language.


Members: 35
Latest Activity: Apr 30, 2015




A philosophy that does not include the possibility of soothsaying from coffee grounds and cannot explicate it cannot be a true philosophy.

Walter Benjamin


Organised collectively by postgraduate students from Birkbeck, the London Consortium, Goldsmiths and Oxford for July 2011.  Free and open to all.


On Spaces and Value: seminar organised by the Space Reading Group, led by Lisa Mullen. Wednesday 27th July, 6-730pm, Birkbeck, room 112, 43 Gordon Square, London.


Film double-bill: Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, 2009)/The Gleaners and I (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse) (Agnes Varda, 2000) - introduced by Holly Pester/Natalie Joelle and Will Viney.  Friday 29th July, 6-9pm, Birkbeck, B20, Malet Street/Torrington Square, Main Building, London.

Rubbish Symposium: Saturday 30th July, 9am-5pm, Birkbeck, B20, Malet Street/Torrington Square, Main Building, London.


Keynote - Professor Steven Connor


Respondent - Professor Esther Leslie


Speakers -


Henderson Downing (Birkbeck)

Natalie Joelle (Birkbeck)

Lisa Mullen (Birkbeck)

Terri Mullholland (Oxford)

Daniel Rourke (Goldmsiths)

Rosemary Shirley (Sussex)

Jon Tee (Birkbeck)

Sian Thomas (Poet)

Tony Venezia (Birkbeck)

Will Viney (London Consortium)

James Wilkes (London Consortium)


Chairs: Dr. Brian Dillon (Kent); Zara Dinnen (Birkbeck); Matt Wraith (London Consortium)


More tbc.


A map of Birkbeck's buildings can be found here. 


Waste time – watch this space.



Discussion Forum

Rubbish Symposium Line Up

 RUBBISHSYMPOSIUM – Saturday 30 July, 9-5 PM, B20 MaletStreet, Birkbeck, University of London 9am – Assemble etc. 9:30 - Keynote – Professor Steven Connor (Birkbeck) 10:00 Panel I - Rubbish Ideas:…Continue

Tags: Leslie, Esther, Space, Waste, Ruins

Started by Tony Venezia Jul 25, 2011.


Please feel free to expand our reference wastebasket...

Started by Tony Venezia Apr 12, 2011.

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Comment by Natalie Joelle on April 30, 2015 at 11:31

RUBBISH fans are all very warmly invited to the final workshop in this year's Pastorals series, which will be held on Tuesday 5th May from 6-8 in Room 112, Birkbeck School of Arts.

We'll be considering the practice of gleaning in Ruth 2 alongside the rigours of lean production typified by GLEANER combine harvesters and DuPont's GLEAN Cereal Herbicide.

We promise a rare opportunity to handle a GLEAN herbicide badge, hear The Book of Ruth automatically translated by one of today's leanest technologies, brand new combine harvesters, and wine and crisps.

Brief optional advance reading/viewing linked here; those pressed for time may like to focus on the images and Ruth 2:


It would be helpful if you could drop us a line over Dandelion if you intend to come, so we can have an idea about victuals.

It would be lovely to you there! N

Comment by Tony Venezia on August 14, 2011 at 23:37


Introduction: waste 

Joshua Gooch

From Production to Destruction to Recovery: Freeganism’s Redefinition of Food Value and Circulation

Michelle Coyne

“Inevitable Grottoes”: Modern Paintings and Wasted Space

Maura Coughlin

Inside the Sanitation System: Mierle Ukeles, Urban Ecology, and the Social Circulation of Garbage

Mark B. Feldman

“Baby, I am the garbage”: James Schuyler’s Taste for Waste

Christopher Schmidt

“They’re literally shit”: Masculinity and the Work of Art in an Age of Waste Recycling

Olivia Banner

An Interview with Janice Radway

Conducted by Loren Glass

Comment by Tony Venezia on August 1, 2011 at 11:32
Ha Ha!  Surely that should be More Rubbish...?
Comment by Natalie Joelle on August 1, 2011 at 1:33
Thanks all for a fascinating day! Bring on Rubbish the Second...
Comment by William Viney on July 31, 2011 at 16:44

Here's a link to that Thomas Sebeok article about semiotics and radioactive wastes. It gives an odd kind of introduction to semiotics in general, but also a provocative justification for the creation of an 'atomic priesthood':


Thomas Sebeok, "Pandora's Box: How and Why to Communicate 10000 Yea...

Comment by Daniel Rourke on July 21, 2011 at 15:12
Rubbish Facebook Event Page: Invite everyone (and fill their facebook stream with academic trash)
Comment by Daniel Rourke on June 9, 2011 at 9:56
Some great links on here. Am looking forward to going them. Since I'll probably be talking about digital rubbish, here's a link to a blog that's worth browsing through: gli.tc/h/blog
Comment by Tony Venezia on June 8, 2011 at 8:53




Professor Susan Morrison (Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies) will give the Dean's Seminar in June 2011 at the School of Advanced Study

Date and Time:

15 June 2011 at 12:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes

Venue: Senate House

Free to attend.  RSVP to troy.rutt@sas.ac.uk



As part of its exhibition ‘Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life’, Wellcome Collectionis offering a rare opportunity to see award-winning films about the divisive, taboo-breaking and intriguing world of dirt and to meet the producers and directors bringing filth to the big screen.


16TH-19TH June 2011: Dirt, Waste Land, Gasland, Nightcleaners

Screenings free, booking required.


Comment by Amanda Sciampacone on June 5, 2011 at 22:38
For anyone who is interested, I have started a reading group that will address the varied ideas of 'filth.' Thank you Tony for letting me discuss this with you and for your advice.
Comment by Natalie Joelle on May 16, 2011 at 23:00

Chemical waste seeping on the shore of a 'forgotten garbage dump' spawns luminous, hyper-verdant life in J.G. Ballard's short story 'Dream Cargoes'. As this urgently ‘awakening life’ reaches the limit of its ‘cellular clocks’, the redundant captain protagonist is doubly wasted- ‘distracted by the wonder of everything' and potentially ‘happy to stare at a stone all day’. Around the island, itself a ‘left-over of nature’, ‘phosphorescent fish’ propel themselves through both the aquatic cocktail and evolution, forming features that ‘seemed to prepare them for life on land’, before becoming disposable in death: ‘their gleaming bodies’ float ‘like discarded costume jewellery’.


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