I walk around and I look at stuff, mostly in what we might as well call the urban environment. One of the things that my kind of walking does is make me see things I hadn’t seen before, to note various repetitions and common features I might previously have taken for granted. I like to note similarities and differences. It's not record science, or in fact any kind of science. And so we come to the dumpster.
Sometimes they’re come singly:
Often in pairs:
Sometimes in groups:
I can’t speak for the whole of the Anglophone world but I think dumpster is an all-American word. The British don’t have dumpsters. They have skips and wheelie bins, and I believe the Australians use the British terminology.
The dumpster was introduced in 1936, part of a mechanical trash-collection system devised by one George Dempster of Knoxville, Tennessee, and for a while it was know as the Dempster Dumpster.
I see a lot of the modern versions when I’m walking around and I don't think most of them find their way onto the back of trucks. This one, in Santa Monica, is the most pristine I’ve ever seen but then Santa Monica does strive to be pristine.
The ones for hire tend to be fairly neat and clean too – nobody wants to rent a dumpster that’s some scarred, graffiti-spattered thing. But in the day-to-day world dumpsters hang out at the back of buildings and in alleys, and so they become targets for tagging and other forms of self-expression. I guess people worry less about graffiti when they’re on a dumpster as opposed to on walls and fences.
But sometimes people build a little house for their dumpster which presumably keeps it safer from roaming street artists.
Fact is, they're everywhere. This one was spotted in LA’s Arts District:
This one in the heart of Hollywood.
This one in Little Tokyo:
And as. matter of fact, dumpsters are not only found in the urban environment - they’re sometimes found in the wide open spaces too:
And sometimes when they’re in the wide open spaces they may get used for shooting practice, though it seems you don’t need to be much of a sharp shooter to hit a dumpster, but then perhaps it was to practice grouping
In conclusion: I enjoy looking at dumpsters. It’s not about looking for ugliness, and I don’t think it’s even about finding beauty in ugliness, and I certainly hope it’s not some wanky art project. I hope it’s just about walking and looking and, of course, recording.