John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Several of them now look like squat men carrying garbage bins as backpacks. Here's why.
In the real São Paulo, running over to somebody to dump a load of trash in his backpack might get you more than a dirty look. But fans of random rubbish-bombing (if there are such people?) can now enjoy vicarious release thanks to these fanciful alterations to three of the city's litter bins, reimagining them as packs slung over the shoulders of seriously glum-looking dudes.
These surreal interventions are a collaborative effort from Berlin's Mentalgassi collective and Brazilian street artist Mundano, who when not amusingly decorating trash containers makes pretty sweet anti-FIFA statements. They accomplished the transformation this month as a tribute to Pimp My Corroça, a social-justice celebration of Brazil's legions of urban-garbage pickers.
A corroça is the type of hauling cart these workers use going about their humble but vital duties. It's thought that little of São Paulo's trash is initially recycled, but that the pickers later sort it so that (in just one example) more than 98 percent of aluminum cans wind up in recycling facilities. Mundano and friends have been adding art and safety improvements to the picker's carts, as well as staging protests to highlight the need to protect and value this vulnerable population.
The Mentalgassi folks write on Facebook (via Google Translate) that these anthropomorphic trash cans are meant to "increase the visibility" of scavengers, as well as call "attention to purchases and donation bins for recyclable materials." The artwork happens to stand in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, a hotspot for bar-fueled nightlife that during the World Cup is "full of people consuming products scavengers invisibly collect every day."
Have a look:
H/t Street Art News