The exhibition Waste Land is part of the biennial public diplomacy campaign “70 Years of Swiss-Indian Friendship: Connecting Minds – Inspiring the Future” of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai. Aiming to reinforce this friendship, the exhibition connects creative minds from fields as diverse as contemporary Indian art and Swiss waste management and technology. Cutting across these disciplines, the exhibition provides a platform for the exchange of innovative ideas and pioneering discoveries in both fields.
The title, Waste Land, uses ‘waste’ as a generic term, covering a wide range of synonyms such as trash, garbage, refuse, junk, debris. It implies ‘waste’ as the verb that designates excessive squandering and the luxury our consumerist society has to do so. The title also refers to a deserted land, devastated by the depletion of resources through the sheer abundance of waste. Since the beginning of cultural history, waste has been an integral part of the functioning of socio-economic systems, whose evolution has culminated in the process of industrialization.
In past decades, waste, long considered as something worthless to be discarded, has in many ways achieved the status of a sought-after raw material. Converted into a commodity through the process of recycling, waste is reinserted into the economic cycle, entering a new value chain. Pioneering efforts in countries such as Switzerland result in high technologies, promoting methods of waste treatment and resource efficiency that counteract the fallouts of our wasteful society.