Due to the influence of ecological thinking, our perception of nature is currently tinged with a profound sense of unease. The works brought together in this section all highlight the fragility of the environment. The artists who made them demonstrate a commitment to generating awareness and showing, among other things, how the landscape around us has become a site of unprecedented catastrophes and disasters. They therefore directly or indirectly deal with the question of climate change and present, in a thoroughly convincing manner, the potential for improvement that resides in individual action.
Due to the influence of ecological thinking, our perception of nature is currently tinged with a profound sense of unease. The works brought together in this section all highlight the fragility of the environment. The artists who made them demonstrate a commitment to generating awareness and showing, among other things, how the landscape around us has become a site of unprecedented catastrophes and disasters. They therefore directly or indirectly deal with the question of climate change and present, in a thoroughly convincing manner, the potential for improvement that resides in individual action.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Views of the installation presented at The Power Plant in 2004.

275 chromogenic prints

40.6 x 50.8 cm each

Kelly Wood
1998 - 2003
© Kelly Wood


From March 1998 to March 2003, Kelly Wood photographed household garbage. From this activity, inscribed within an arbitrary time frame, emerged a large-scale work that presents us with unmistakable evidence of a relentless process and exposes its excesses in documentation extending to 275 pages. The Continuous Garbage Project (1998-2003) brings us into contact with the records the artist kept over time. The sharpness of her images reveals all the more clearly that the full garbage bag is an empirical fact of life and makes the photographic medium into a standardized recording tool. The repetition of the same composition and the resulting succession of images help to transform Wood’s heaps of garbage into art materials.
From March 1998 to March 2003, Kelly Wood photographed household garbage. From this activity, inscribed within an arbitrary time frame, emerged a large-scale work that presents us with unmistakable evidence of a relentless process and exposes its excesses in documentation extending to 275 pages. The Continuous Garbage Project (1998-2003) brings us into contact with the records the artist kept over time. The sharpness of her images reveals all the more clearly that the full garbage bag is an empirical fact of life and makes the photographic medium into a standardized recording tool. The repetition of the same composition and the resulting succession of images help to transform Wood’s heaps of garbage into art materials.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Views of the installation presented at The Power Plant in 2004.

Kelly Wood

© Kelly Wood


Views of the installation presented at The Power Plant in 2004.

Kelly Wood
1998 - 2003
© Kelly Wood


<i>Garbage and the work of art</i>

If the subject of garbage can be seen as the residual effect of the special status of the commodity under capitalism, then it follows that it is the use made of these lost remains that is a determinant of that society. For the commodity and obsolescence are mutual concepts - the act of consumption itself is an act of pure loss. And so, we can begin to understand that “accumulation is more than the sum of its products” (George Bataille’s theory of the general economy): but, garbage in a conceptual work of art? Is that an idea inside a photograph or merely a document? And speaking of contradictions, wouldn’t it be odd to be both a sign of filth and a sign of wealth? An opulence of squander-forecast… nasty. This new pollution, does it stand as the negation of scarcity? Would you seriously consider a negation of the art object by suggestion? How about a visual non sequitur - the function of which is to destroy the syntax of the image, in advance, through the senseless conflation of it (art) as garbage? And is not garbage as abstract a concept as art is? What is garbage anyway but a lot of discarde Read More

<i>Garbage and the work of art</i>

If the subject of garbage can be seen as the residual effect of the special status of the commodity under capitalism, then it follows that it is the use made of these lost remains that is a determinant of that society. For the commodity and obsolescence are mutual concepts - the act of consumption itself is an act of pure loss. And so, we can begin to understand that “accumulation is more than the sum of its products” (George Bataille’s theory of the general economy): but, garbage in a conceptual work of art? Is that an idea inside a photograph or merely a document? And speaking of contradictions, wouldn’t it be odd to be both a sign of filth and a sign of wealth? An opulence of squander-forecast… nasty. This new pollution, does it stand as the negation of scarcity? Would you seriously consider a negation of the art object by suggestion? How about a visual non sequitur - the function of which is to destroy the syntax of the image, in advance, through the senseless conflation of it (art) as garbage? And is not garbage as abstract a concept as art is? What is garbage anyway but a lot of discarded packaging-and where would art be without it packaging? Art is almost entirely packaging-a packaged idea. I may have been wasted when I got this impression, but I wasn’t the first one to turn garbage into art. For it is only via excesses that one can afford to waste at all.


© Kelly Wood

Kelly Wood was born in Toronto and now lives in Vancouver. After studying photography at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, she went on to earn a master’s degree in fine art from the University of British Columbia. Her works have been shown at numerous venues across Canada, as well as in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

selected exhibitions
2002 Sound and Vision, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal (Québec) 2001 The Continuous Garbage Project: 1998-2003, The Power Plant, Toronto (Ontario); presented in 2003 at The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver (British Columbia) 2000 Black: Plastic, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver (British Columbia) Bonheur et simulacres, Manif d’art 2, Québec (Québec) [Bernard Lamarche, curator] Confluence: Contemporary Canadian Photography, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa (Ontario) [Martha Hanna, curator]
Kelly Wood was born in Toronto and now lives in Vancouver. After studying photography at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, she went on to earn a master’s degree in fine art from the University of British Columbia. Her works have been shown at numerous venues across Canada, as well as in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

selected exhibitions
  • 2002 Sound and Vision, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal (Québec)
  • 2001 The Continuous Garbage Project: 1998-2003, The Power Plant, Toronto (Ontario); presented in 2003 at The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver (British Columbia)
  • 2000 Black: Plastic, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver (British Columbia)
  • Bonheur et simulacres, Manif d’art 2, Québec (Québec) [Bernard Lamarche, curator]
  • Confluence: Contemporary Canadian Photography, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa (Ontario) [Martha Hanna, curator]

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • demonstrate an understanding of how science and art can be linked;
  • try to explain the state of mind of the artist when she made this art piece.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans