The Waste room of modernity

Invited to the exhibition “Haushalten in den Meisterhäusern: Wie leben wir morgen gesund und wirtschaftlich?” (“Householding” in the Master houses: how we will live healthy and economically tomorrow?) the first exhibition of contemporary interventions happening at the houses that Gropius designed for the teachers of the Bauhaus in Dessau. It was open from June, 12th to August, 9th 2015.

Researching about the house we were invited to (the Dining Room of Georg Muche), we realized that the house had a buffer space between the kitchen and the dining room, that originally had a window to pass the dishes to the dining room. In that room, the service put the plates together before passing it to the guests. The home of the masters of modernity not only had service living in the dark basement, their service was hidden and unvisible from them. If we think about the service at Downton Abbey, contemporary to them (1926), at least they see each other.

Obviously, modernity was clean because someone else was dirty. Our founding fathers, the Bauhaus and its domesticity did not contemplate any relation with care work. The house was to be a machine for living and creating, alright. But it needed servants.

The installation we proposed crossed those two realities of cleanlines and dirtiness, work and discourse: in the service room, we exhibited some of the photos we took around the world of the waste pickers we have been working with. They were exhibited in the most familiar (and patronising) way. Meanwhile, in the living room, eight thermal printers were printer every twit with the typical hashtags of the contemporary ecological discourse: #Recycle, #Waste, #Efficiency, #Reuse, #Sustainable, #Growth, #Ecology, and not surprisingly the less times twitted #Consumption, which is for us the key word for understading our relation with the world today. 58 days printing every twit with those hashtags, from 10h to 17h CET: Around 15000 mts of thermal paper, 200,000 twits.

While some make ecology work, and invent new methods of caring and householding , some of us dedicate our time to produce discourse, as empty as usual.

This is the curatorial text:

Waste is contemporary, not modern.
Indeed, economy consists today of the production, transport and consumption of waste.
Gropius never included a “waste room” in the meister houses- in his time

There was not as much waste as today. BUT; also the servants handled that.

Modernity was clean because someone else was dirty:
What Gropius included is a room where the servants remained unseen and invisible- the “buffer zone” between the dining room and the kitchen.

Contemporary household produces waste
Indeed, we all work now for the recycling industry, sorting the waste at home, saving work to the recycling industry, not any other but the biggest companies on earth: packaging, mining, steel, aluminium and paper industries are THE recycling industry.
We paid for it and then we have to give it back for free because is “good for the earth”
The massive swindle that consists in buying for overpriced waste, take it home and send it back into the industry is the ultimate exploitation of contemporary economy.

There are no logos for reusing or reducing. All of them ONLY ENCOURAGE to recycle;
there are some informing the material COULD be reused, which material the product is made of, some ask you to be clean and some other to dispose correctly, nothing else. The Pfand, the only useful reusing system existing is, more and more, taken care of by informal workers to work while we party.

Housekeeping and budgeting in the XXI century must include a new waste production  and management culture, and that cannot forget the waste workers, who are the most delicate waste managers and the most thorough reusers. They are, indeed the only one proposing a culture of waste management that might help us reducing the CO emissions and having a happier life. Riding a bike, eating organic and being green makes you happier. “Recycling” (Sorting waste at home and putting them in the bins provided by the biggest companies in the world) is something that makes others happy.


The project “Huellas” brings back to live the ancient tradition of drying the fishing nets in front of the port. It is a symbol of a way of life that shaped A Coruña historically, although nowadays it is becoming less and less present in its urban context.
The reused fishing nets represent the naval past that made this place one of the liveliest areas in town. A Coruña has experience a massive transformation and today it is only possible to find traces of this traditions in the outskirts of the city.
“Huellas” was a collaborative project by Basurama and local architects, designers and students. It was part of the Festival Mar de Mares.





“The Whirlpool of waste” – Roskilde Festival 2013

More pictures here.

A whirlpool of waste emerges in the middle of an ephemeral city. An invented city to consume: Music, drinks, friends, drugs… RoskildeFestival is a great music festival that congregates more than 125.000 people during 9 days offering more than 100 concerts and activities, a great event of masses.

Instead of hiding and making the rubbish invisible, ” the whirlpool of waste” it’s formed as a visible monument of what we are: consumers producing waste. A trash monument that was growing while the festival days where going on. Savages consumers of excess.

A catapult helped the inhabitants of the new city to accumulate garbage in the great installation. A war field where the rubbish was the main protagonist. The game and the action to relate us on the same level with our wastes.

Basurama also made two workshops with the garbage generated during the festival:

  • Disguises and masks workshop.
    Musical instruments workshop.

Video of the catapult in action:

You can see more videos of the process and a broad view of the festival here (by Basurama).

Inhabiting Plastic Oceans.

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Inhabiting Plastic Oceans is an art installation designed and built by Basurama for the World Design Capital in Company Gardens, Cape Town during the month of November 2014. For the piece 240 kilos of plastic over 5.000 m of duct tape have been used together with 3 industrial fans to blow it up.

In Spain the garbage bag has radically changed in the last 30 years. While in the 80s our home trash was filled in with organic leftovers and broken items (furniture, clothes,….) nowadays the main waste substance in our bin is plastic, whether in the form of bags, bottles or packages. Their properties, their size and the easy way we dispose them make them instantly forgotten. But through each of those decisions and gestures we are actually feeding a monster of mythological dimensions.
In 2014 we were invited to create an installation for the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 closure. South Africa is a country with 2500km of coastline and it is famous for its capes. Cape Point, in Cape Town, is the melting pot where two huge water masses come together: the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean. In recent years this two oceans have been invaded by one of the most non biodegradable contaminants: plastic. Recent studies show that plastic debris has increased a 90% over the past 10 years in South Africa. A large percentage of this plastic waste ends up in the oceans; and has concentrated itself on 5 vortexes causing enormous environmental problems, including the death of 1.5 million animals per year.
These figures are like mythological animals, abstract entities that we can hardly imagine. Inhabiting Plastic Oceans is an art installation that helps us to visualize through 3 habitable sculptures the dimensions of our consumption model. It does not only make it visible but it gives a dimension and makes it inhabitable. 3 cubes made out of plastic coming from recycling plants and that represent three scales:


  • A cube 3x3x3 meters representing the number of bags that a Cape Town citizen takes home each year.

  • A cube 9x9x9 meters that helps us visualize the plastic trash volume produced in Cape Town in one hour.

  • A cube 12x12x12 (the height of a building of 4 floors) that shows the amount of compacted plastic that ends up annually in the ocean.


The structure of the cubes is basically air from 3 industrial fans that blow them up. But the installation comes to life in contact with the wind. The wind smoothly shakes the cubes and once you get into the sculptures you can feel the strength of its waving and changes in the surface. Inhabit Plastic Oceans allows us to plunge into the ocean of our own consumption through these three delicate and impressive sculptures. It helps us understanding the world that surrounds us and to be aware of it, but also helps us to imagine new scenarios and give us shelter to scape away from the landscapes we inhabit.


Inhabiting Plastic Oceans_1 (In Love We Trash Cape Town 2014)

Inhabiting Plastic Oceans_2 (In Love We Trash Cape Town 2014)





Luxo é Lixo (Luxury is Trash)

//October 2014

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Exhibition at Estampa 2014 art fair in Matadero Madrid,  with Galería Moisés Pérez de Albéniz.

// July 2014

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With the occasion of the Third Meeting of Rectors in Rio de Janeiro, Banco Santander Foundation and Universia invited us to participate for creating a piece of art together with Brazilian university students.

Luxo é Lixo (Luxury is Trash) is a project tributed to the visual poem ‘Lixo/Luxo’ of Augusto de Campos.

The objective was to reproduce the poetry in an urban scale made up with trash. The selected waste were plastic bag, symbol of daily consumption, discarded in some minutes after taking the groceries home. Part of the plastic bags came from the inhabitants of Urca neighborhood, where we were working, another part was obtained through cooperatives and other were provided by the university students taking part in the workshop.

For 10 days students from FACHA and UNIRIO universities collaborated with us in the construction of the piece. Over 4,000 bags have been employed in the installation, which final dimensions are 7 meters high and about 26 meters long.

Working with plastic bags in such a large structure was a challenge, because the bags are lightweight, thin and especially Brazil, which makes them more sensitive.

Luxo é lixo confront the city, the mountains, make contrast to a way of development, to a way of thinking, we want the piece to interact with all these contrasts, with all these contradictions.

The piece was installed at UNIRIO University and also at Urca beach, just under Pan de Azúcar.




Batumi and its self constructed outdoor itinerant cinema.

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Batumi, Georgia, is a city on the Black Sea and summer booming destination for neighboring countries (Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia) .The city is focusing its developement in the construction of infraestructures and apartments “sun and beach” style.

We were invited by the curators Tamara Bokuchava and Nini Palavandishvil to participate in the Urban Art Festival “Active Art” 2014, first urban art festival in Georgia.

The obejective was to recover discarded materials and give them a new use as well as visibilize that trash is only a “label” that we put on things once their are not more usefull for wath they were designed. We have been working 10 days with Georgian students in the Contemporary Art Center of Batumi (41N 41E) recovering tires to build the seats and packaging plastic for the inflatable screen. The result aselfcontructed open air cinema for summer nights.

The inflatable screen is available at the Contemporary Art Center of Batumi to be used by anyone who want it.  You just have to ask for it!

While tires chairs have been donated to the City of Batumi and will bespread around schools and city parks.



Plastic Surrealims – LIGHT

More photos here.

“Living in plastic bags”. Overconsumption, waste and desire.
Creativity workshop “Plastic Surrealism” in Antonio Gala Foundation, Córdoba.
21 – 22 February, 2014.

Workshop of thought and action carried out with the young residents of Antonio Gala Foundation in Córdoba. With writers, artists, visual artists and musicians. Braking their creative routine to get into the mundane materiality of plastic. Collective process of experimentation to intervene our bodies and our spaces.

LIGHT, final intervention. Habitable letters in the patio of the Palacio de Viana.
In each habitable letter was an action happening. In the letter L (poetry), you could be written a poem. In the letter U (music), you could listen to music from previously recorded plastic sounds. In the letter Z (drawing), you could write or draw on it.

Installation in the Anciennes Abattoires of Casablanca

Basurama participated in the urban arts festival ” Zancat ” in Casablanca ( Morocco) with a workshop – installation in the Anciennes Abattoires , former slaughterhouse turned into a cultural space and managed by the Association Casamémoire .

The starting material of the workshop was one of the most abundant waste in the city: plastic bags. The plastic bag is the consumption symbol par excellence, a model and a paradigm metaphor of it. Plastic bags have an average usage time of 12 to 20 minutes , however , can take between 15 to 1000 years to be degraded .

Les Anciennes Abattoires are currently in a state of semi-abandonment , although from Casamémoire are working on their recovery. Our goal was to perform a spatial intervention in one of the spaces of Les Abattoirs through various techniques of recovery and reuse plastic bags .

The first day we worked with schools in the area , separating the color bags , exercising creativity to make clothing, as well as various resistance exercises to form strings , which eventually would be used in the construction of swings.

We start from the idea of ​​re- inhabiting a symbolic and historical space,  give it other possibilities while reusing everyday waste to transform it . This was a double period of redefinition , a dialectic that makes us wonder how we relate to the space we use and how we relate to each .

An inflatable heart and lung.

Totoro Out of Trash: project for the Istanbul Design Biennial

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Installation for the Istanbul Design Biennial 2012 at the Galata Greek School.

The Bubble was not actually designed, its shape came out of the plastics actually available at the biennial when we arrived and the courtyard provided to be exhibited.

It is inflatedonly using twodomestic fans.

The same techniques and materials used to package and wrap were used to build the bubble, allowing us to finish it in one day work and for only a 10€ cost.Taking care of waste is an act of love that transforms it into something desirable instead of deplorable.

Using waste for building the bubble was a way of proposing a new way of looking at the biennale. No one thought about the waste as waste, not paying attention to it when discarding, neither once collected to be used as building material.

The bubble was projected to be used as an urban intervention dispositif. We invite anyone explore this tecnhique, improve it and use it for that purpose or others. Is cheap, easy and very available, since  about 300 million plastic bags are discarded in Istanbul every year.