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Photo courtesy of Wastescapes


How can immersive storytelling and embodied ways of learning help us grapple with the effects of environmental racism?  How do urban waste practices reproduce social and racial hierarchies, and how might forms of being with urban waste lead to activist pressure and better policy? Wastescapes is an augmented reality app that guides cyclists through waste sites in Montreal, a city known for its commitment to cycling and zero waste. [1]

Wastescapes is an educational and artistic intervention in the form of an augmented bike tour, an interdisciplinary course series, creative interventions and a collection of educational resources. Our aim is to build awareness and develop methods to address waste as both problem and resource. With environmental justice as a key critical lens, we explore the scales of waste from individual to institutional, from local to global and emphasize the role of policy and governance in addressing this wicked problem. [2]

The app starts with the idea that being there matters, putting first-hand experience in dialogue with the social histories and contemporary dilemmas of Montreal’s wastescapes. It’s a chance to follow the waste and see where it goes through the lens of city infrastructure, community activism and the people who manage waste. Montreal has piloted a Zero waste plan that is attracting global attention and the objective of the app is to merge zero waste aspirations with critical pedagogy, recreational fun and the transformational potential of a collective visit to wastescapes. [1]


[1]      “Uneven Grounds (Live Exhibit).” Environmental Racism is Garbage, May 29, 2021. https://environmentalracismisgarbage.art/uneven-grounds-private/.

[2]       Wastescapes. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://wastescapes.com/.

Additional information:

“About WasteScapes.” Wastescapes. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://wastescapes.com/about-wastescapes/.

“Elizabeth Miller.” Faculty. Concordia University. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.concordia.ca/artsci/coms/faculty.html?fpid=elizabeth-l-miller.

“Waste Scapes – Apps on Google Play.” Google. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.SwampwalkerProductions.WasteScapes&hl=en_CA&gl=US.

“Wastescapes.” Vimeo, May 30, 2021. https://vimeo.com/503112001.

Project Title: Wastescapes
Artists:  Elizabeth (Liz) Miller, MJ Thompson
Year: 2021

Place: Montréal, Québec

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