(In)Voluntary Product Displacement
There is something fascinating about trash. It always catches your eye.
The power of a faded can of Pepsi left for years under the sun, next to a thriving bunch of mushrooms sitting peacefully in the woods next to my hometown, just few kilometres from the border.
That's my first memory of human dumped trash.
The faded blue and the Pepsi logo, Pepsi - not Coca Cola because Yugoslavia was a communist country and Coca Cola was too American to be even allowed in the country. I don't know if they sold it, but I have no memory of it - at least before 1990.
Then things changed. Coca Cola cans started showing up, even in the woods.
Sign of the times. Joining the West.
Pepsi though, I used to like it better, especially the Yugoslavian one.
And of course there was, and there still is, Cockta: what I would describe as the Marmite of the Balkans, not because it's a spread but it elicits that same love/hate relationship.
Nonetheless, this is not a series about Yugo Nostalgia or Eastern European fizzy drinks.
This is a series about litter and brands, and how much humanity is reflected in the trash it generates.
No more Pepsi in the woods nowadays. But plenty of Coca Cola, iPhone cables, Mondelez products, Heineken beers, not only in the woods next to my house, but worldwide.
Branded trash is not just simple trash. It's not just an environmental disaster.
Branded trash is also advertising; unpaid for by the brand- insidious and everywhere; a point of focus for our busy brains and eyes; endless product placement in the movies of our lives.
It doesn't matter where I am now, or what my tastes are. Pepsi will always have the power of nostalgia.
University of Huddersfield
The capacity of visual culture to reveal the unseen and show in a new light (instead of, or as well as, telling and informing) is emphasised in Policardo’s Branded trash (In) voluntary product displacement. Photographs of discarded containers with sometimes faded and crumpled, but still clearly identifiable logos appear like still lives, carefully lit and staged like a product placement. Adding an air of glossy value to ‘worthless’ waste, these images raise awareness of – and in doing so are complicit within - the enduring, free advertising of litter. This project brings to light the circulation of value that not only spurs further ecological destruction but accumulates deeply uneven benefits and losses.
→ AC Davidson, University of Huddersfield