Trash becomes anthropological treasure in Binghamton University exhibition


With items they collected along Broome County roadways, student anthropologists have turned trash into an exhibition. Opening at 3:30 p.m. Monday, November 18, in the Nancy J. Powell Gallery of the Binghamton University Art Museum, the exhibition includes a broken plate, a toothbrush, a glove and a love letter and a variety of other items.

Titled “Traces of Traffic: An Anthropological Study of Roadside Trash,” the exhibition hopes to raise awareness that objects bear witness to human relations, and that any lost or thrown-away object is entangled in a net of previous events.  The opening, which will be followed by a reception, is free and open to the public.

Organized by anthropology students in Reinhard Bernbeck’s “Museums and the Art of Exhibition” class, the exhibit features 20 objects. Each object is the subject of two independently written scenarios to make visitors aware of the potentially widely diverging imaginable pasts of the items.

In addition to gathering the objects and offering speculative observations about their possible path to trash, the students also helped the University Museum staff to prepare and mount the exhibit as part of their class. The students will also be on hand at the opening to introduce the show and to answer questions. The exhibit runs through to December 20. 

For more information, contact Reinhard Bernbeck at 607-777-2542 or the Art Museum at 607-777-2634.

Last Updated: 9/17/13