This site is an evolving archive of the various community and creative projects that I have established over the years. Also, if you like the images above and want to see more of my photographs, you can find them here.
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Applied Imagination Project - NIght/Day

These posts are documentation of the creative project, Night/Day, which explores the phenomenon of hard rubbish.

The images below are a selection from face-to-face interviews that I conducted with Moreland residents around their attitudes and experiences towards hard rubbish.

The questions were:
  1. What was the most memorable thing that you have seen in hard rubbish in your area?
  2. What types of things are you throwing out in your pile? Is there anything that you are especially glad or find difficult to throw away?
  3. If you could organise hard rubbish any way you like, how would you run it?
  4. What is your perspectives on material possessions - are you a hoarder or a tosser?
  5. Is there anything else you'd like to say about hard rubbish?

These next images are a selection from a large set of long exposure night photographs in the same area. These images take an opposite approach to the day interviews, giving space for the hard rubbish to stand alone in a nocturnal world without people.

Night/Day - Recorded Interviews

The following are unedited recorded interviews of Coburg residents with regard to their attitudes and experience of hard rubbish.

Interview 1

Interview 2

Interview 3

Interview 4

Interview 5

Interview 6

Interview 7

Interview 8

Interview 9

Interview 10

Night/Day - Hard Rubbish Survey Results

These are the results from an online survey of people's attitudes and experiences of hard rubbish.



Q3.What was the most memorable thing you've seen in hard rubbish?
  • Nothing very exciting. Only a TV comes to mind. Or a couch.
  • I once got a pink malvern star bike out of the hard rubbish, it is fully functional, and I always get compliments on it - it amazes me what people throw out! I ride it almost every day. I have collected so many amazing items out of the hard rubbish, including Italian-made leather bags, plastic roses, vases, photos frames, and bags of clothes all in near-new condition.
  • a tricycle
  • Tv
  • can't remember
  • Three sets of 6 x dining chairs in good nick
  • I don't notice it
  • a beautiful antique rocking chair...we had no more room in our car!
  • a mannequin
  • beautiful brass vases and urns
  • solid wood panels; good for painting on
  • Not sure. I once found a beautiful wooden desk, but it was gone by the time I got back. In the last hard rubbish in Brunswick I found a lovely glass jar that I have planted some moss in and my friend found a compost bin- just when she was saying that she needed to get one!
  • Salmon coloured velvet lounge suite
  • sunday night - a large teddy bear on its own, in good condition, sitting on the nature strip staring forlornely down the street
  • Set of dining room chairs
  • Steel school lockers, small square pidgeon holes with lockable doors, really old, powder coated with a 50's yellow paint, 6 foot tall and wide, and old Bikes
  • huge TV set
  • Nothing particularly jumps to mind as the most memorable.
  • An enamelled cast iron, free standing bath tub with bronze lioned feet. My partner & I scavanged that too!
  • orange floral retro couch
  • couch, cat cubby
  • Big yellow painted wooden chest box
  • Flawless grandfather clock.
  • A pool table.
  • snoopy neighbours
  • Some mother of pearl shells, I was fascinated with them and wanted to take them and then I thought 'what am i ever going to do with mother of pearl shell?' and left it there
  • A giant cast iorn white christmas tree in the middle of April that my housemate brought home to adorn our garden
  • A surfboard - only missing one fin!
  • Every little pile of rubbish has it's own interest and aesthetic. I love the sad array of exercise equipment - surely a sign of defeat.
  • Old 8 2/3 inch floppy disk drives.

Q4. Please describe your most memorable hard rubbish experience?
  • We needed a new fridge urgently. My partner asked around her colleagues, and one had seen a fridge on a particular street in Seddon the night before. My dad came over to drop something unrelated off to me, having taken time off work to do so, and when he arrived, I sprung on him "can you take me to Seddon to get a fridge". We tried, and drove up and down the street in question three times, but no fridge! We got one on Freecycle the next day from just around the corner from our house. It's still going strong.
  • I have been collecting hard rubbish with my parents ever since I was a young child. My parents would do the rounds of the streets in Mitcham where we used to live, and collect odds and ends. This is probably why I began collecting hard rubbish when I grew up, when other people might turn their noses down at it. In Montreal, someone threw out a three piece velvent lined couch in perfect condition. I asked my housemate to help me carry it several blocks back to our place. It was an adventure carrying an oversized couch through a downtown neighbourhood and even more of an adventure trying to get it through the doors of our tiny apartment.
  • putting out hard rubbish and then realising as a household we had taken in more from scavenging than we had put out!
  • Finding a couch that I needed randomly dumped in my car space
  • ???
  • Packing up my house in Albury, having to put everything in storage, and therefore elimate about 1/3 of my stuff. I put it all out on the nature strip, and over 3 days it All disappeared!
  • Being driven round brighten, with a trailer, a spotlight, and a friend on foot scoping the nature strips.
  • When we saw an old 50's light , parked the car around the corner, when we arrived at the pile an older lady had claimed it for her op shop to save the animals. poo. we needed a lamp.
  • fully furnishing an empty squat with 3 or 4 van loads of hard rubbish
  • a friend of mine told me about a a fight she saw almost erupt over a chicken coop that two groups stopped to get
  • behind a picutre frame shop: so much frames and mountboards and wood panels
  • When I first moved to Melbourne I moved into a place in Princes Hill and went around the hard rubbish with my new housemates. It was a fun night exploring a new city and getting to know knew people. I kept this metal dish rack for years. Also when I moved into a place years later on park street I got a whole heap of crockery just down the street (which I still have) and a great art folder (which I still use.)
  • My partner arriving home in a tiny hatch back with a 3 piece 1960's lounge suite and 2 Edwardian lounge chairs stacked on the roof. All the time he was loading and tying them in position, another scavenger was waiting to pounce on anything he left behind
  • spotting dining chairs that were hideous - 70's/80's not in a funky way. But being sure that I could take the seats and backs off and re-cover them to make them cool. So walked back home, borrowed a car, took 2 trips to collect the set of chairs (panicking that in between 2 trips someone would take one or more and ruin the set!). played around with chairs a bit, tring to remove pieces to no avail. they sat in shed for months. then my mum had a go, no luck, sat in shed for more months. Finally, put them out for hard rubbish for someone else to try their luck
  • Filling a trailer with a host of goods when only expected to pick up a couple of items.
  • Working dvd player
  • while living in suburban Melbourne, replacing the dog's couch with a newer one every hard rubbish day
  • It's a second hand experience, but my cousin once assembled a fully furnished living room on someone's nature strip from the hard rubbish in their street, which I thought was very funny.
  • As above, and helping a non-English speaking old lady balance up an item of furniture, book shelf I think, onto a shopping trolley so she could take it wherever...
  • furnishing my whole house, the first time i moved out from the hard rubbish in the street, table, bed, couch, drawing desk, huge office desk, you name it.
  • finding a couch, wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements running home to my house and convincing people to help me lift this very very heavy thing the 1-2 km's home
  • Trying to lift an enormous wardrobe out of my garage
  • 1. As a kid my dad and I would wander the neighbourhood in search of pieces that we could restore. He's a wood craftsman and I learnt a great deal working with him. One night we came across a beautiful table - and I was set on guard duty while we went home for the car (a 1973 Valiant Regal station wagon, yellow). We restored and sold it - it was a beauty! I wonder where it is now... 2. During my Express Media years, a collaboration with Melbourne Fringe resulted in a zine. The 2006 (I think) edition had a photo-essay juxtaposing Fringe Furniture with hard rubbish. It was beautifully done - and involved some street compositional work, sculpting pieces out of the hard rubbish ready-mades.
  • My brother and I noticed a small pool table in hard rubbish at the end of our street, so we raced up to check it out, and as we were picking it up, the owners of the house wandered out and offered us a set of cues and balls that they still had in the garage. We had a chat, and happily headed home with our new table, complete with balls, cues, and chalk!
  • Scoring a big long couch for a share house then spending an hour trying to manouvre it into the house.
  • Clearing out a 2x2 metre room and getting a guest room, and creating two massive totem poles out of the front of the house from all the hard rubbish.
  • 6 of us draging a lavish 10 seater couch back to our ramshackle abode with an ut side longe rom fit fr a king! Ahhh South Yarra hard rubbish
  • A friend of mine accidentally stole someone's wheelbarrow that they'd left on their front lawn for about 10 minutes. Dude was not impressed.
  • Got some great chairs the other day!
  • My daughter Anastasia Klose and I made an art work - an assemblage installation on our nature strip for Hard Rubbish. it attracted many peoples interest!
  • Getting the whole family involved to extract a huge 1960s photocopier from some unsuspecting family's nature strip. (they were peeping through the window...)

Q5. What items were you were particularly happy or sad to throw out at a hard rubbish collection, and why?

  • Was pleased to get rid of the furniture that had been sitting in our backyard disintegrating in the rain since we moved in six months earlier. Really should have got organised and put it on freecycle from the beginning. It really didn't do too well in that freak hailstorm in march - some of the lacquer came off the bookshelf, exposing the chipboard underneath, and it started to swell.
  • I don't usually throw out items in the hard rubbish. I usually sell them at the Camberwell market.
  • a nice convertable futon base, was lovely to see it delighted someone and they got something they really needed. Also a release to let things go.
  • Don't get sad. It's liberating to clear rubbish and clutter from your life
  • An old broken pushbike that an old boyfriend had left that I'd carted round through 3 house moves thinking he'd want to come and get it ... finally after 6 years it went to hard rubbish!
  • A big dusty armchair was good to dump. Olive green.
  • I am sad about functional items that we didnt want or have personal use for anymore.
  • i am happy to through away things that i have already collected second hand and they are beyond repair. I am also happy to put out things i cant repair in the hope that others can.
  • nothing; they were all things I had no use for or attachments
  • I don't usually have anything to throw out at hardrubbish as I regularly clean out junk and usually just take what's worth keeping straight to the second hand store.
  • My partner always does the throwing out as I spend too much time considering which items if any I can part with
  • I'm not a great contributor - but maybe it was good to see those chairs return to the cycle and be tried by someone else
  • Out of date computers and screens
  • sad to throw out a catamaran, as it was a great thing, but not economically viable to restore
  • A fridge that worked fine but I couldn't take with me because I didn't have any room for it at my new place, but I knew I'd need one in a few months. I need to get used to the idea of not having to hoard things for the future as much in case I might need them - if I don't need it now or very soon I'll be fine without it.
  • Happy - an old washing machine I "inhereted" with a new place I moved to. It didn't work and was taking up space in the garage. Sad - err, can't think of a thing....
  • Happy to through out some of the garage full of junk that has been haunting my family's house for over 10 years.
  • big furniture, very happy
  • An old cupboard with glass surrounding most sides. We called it the 'crystal cabinet' - because my great aunty stored her crystal in it. We'd had it for years, but i'd never had a chance to restore it. So, although I didnt really want to, it was time to put it out in hard rubbish. Unfortunately though, no-one collected it before the big hard rubbish truck visited. So, it was squashed up in the truck squashing machinery!! I heard it happening in the early hours of the morning :-(
  • Tried to give a mattress away recently to save it from hard rubbish, but arrangements didn't work and in the end it had to go to landfill. I was really quite sad about it because the thing was in excellent condition. I rang Vinnies and the Salvos but they wouldn't take it because of some policy or other. Such a shame.
  • Mostly I have thrown out stuff that is way beyond re-use or recycling, so nothin makes me particularly sad. It's handy to get rid of big things though.
  • No one wants our perfectly good queen bed base cos it has no mattress. Being rejected is hard.
  • Excited about the space we created from throwing things out...
  • hmmm moldy rotting carpet delighted to get rid of it for obvious reasons
  • Sad as it is, I enjoyed throwing away an old fridge because you're required to remove the front door - was pretty fun having a reason to smash a fridge. Always sad to throw away parts for a project I never got around to or plants I managed to kill.
  • A shelving unit. I needed it repaired but it sat around the house for so long, so just put it out.
  • I like to throw out discarded things from my studio.
  • Crap around the house that is a joy to go. Pretty happy each time.

Q6. What would be your ideal hard rubbish collection system? (Imagine you could run it any way you want - what would it be like?)

  • Freecycle. (but if noone wants the stuff, I then like that I can call the council to come and get it when it suits me.)
  • 3 times a year, well marketed, so everyone would know when to go collecting.
  • one where people could list or upload a pic of what they are putting out, or put request for items wanted, to maximise the reuse of items.
  • Would be cool to be able to get cheap stuff from hard rubbish points.
  • first change the name - remove the term 'rubbish', & include soething possitive, p'haps the term 'opportunity' p'haps link it with freecycle schemes
  • Just like the Yackandandah tip: easy to move around, all sorted into different departments, ie white goods, glass, kitchen furniture
  • The current system is ok. It could have a greater empasis on recycling. Once a year electrical waste would be collected for recycling.
  • i like it the way it is. sometimes there is stealth involved. i just hope everyone is up for letting other people claim their rubbish. more people should do it, although this may create riots and neighbourhood battles. just want less in the land field, so people should take more from the top of the land when its available.
  • That it would only become council property once they collect it. That the hard rubbish was sorted according to material or utility and then you could access it at a second had shop at the tip. I know some councils do this but its not widely advertised.
  • cross between markets and ebay...
  • Recently my housemate organised a clothes swap where for an afternoon everyone brought their old clothes to our house and put them in a pile or hung them from the clothesline on coat hangers. We had music, drinks and even raised money for a charity. Why can't hard rubbish be like that? People could all walk the streets on a given day, meet neighbours, share a drink or something to eat and find potential treasures in other people's garbage? It could be a real community event.
  • I think the current system is OK - except if it's raining and things get spoilt before someone takes them to a new home
  • 4 times a year, everyone everywhere puts out their hard rubbish, labelled broken (some details) or working. Items are sheltered from elements but plain to see. Everyone then has a week to take what they want from other piles from anywhere around town (incl charity shops etc). then it is all cleared up and collected. In between, people don't just chuck tvs etc on nature strip, as they know there will soon be a collection.
  • Ban commercial recyclers from taking materials except when undertaking official removal
  • here the Bega Valley Shire Council has a transfer station (tip), at which stuff that looks of any value is put to one side for others to collect. Not bad. Orbost tip is even better, with an organised shed of junk to claim. This seems better than cluttering footpaths with it
  • It would happen all the time everywhere and just be a normal part of life. That would make transporting things so much easier. There'd have to be something in place to maintain that though, make sure it didn't just turn into way too much rubbish everywhere.
  • Ummmm..... Take it all to one spot in a suburb like a park or school sports oval and have it available for a weekend, with a civilised start time like 9 am, and security to settle competing 'claims' :)
  • a serach system on the net where you can list your items to through out and search for things you need, also raw materials can be broken down to recycle, and collected by people with a use for that material
  • not to dissimiliar to the system moreland city council implements. 1 or 2 periods of the year are stipulated and advertised for rubbish collection.
  • Perhaps an online system. People can load info about their hard rubbish and others can collect it. This system could operate every day of the year, rather than the usual once a year.
  • The council tells us that scavenging is illegal because as soon as you put the stuff on the street, it apparently belongs to the company who's contracted to take it away. While I hate to begrudge an honest company of their income, when I put things on the street I am giving them to my community. There should be a grace period where scavenging is ok, followed by the collection date. It should be promoted as a community activity - one step in the move towards greater material lifecycle awareness.
  • It would be combined with a scavenger/re-use festival, where someone hosted a big party in a well equipped garage, and everyone pitched together to fix things, or work on their projects, using the "new" things that had been found, swapped and shared from hard rubbish. There'd be a shared meal, and people would get to know each other around their waste, while seing other ways to re-use stuff.
  • more of it Canberra seems a bit too tidy
  • Lots of 'tips shops' which are close to everyone, where it is free to drop things off and free to pick things up so that we can have a free-market recycling system - and occassionally clear out the real junk!
  • If they was a place undercover but outside that would be a a site of countinal exchange ( for anything that's not rotting)
  • Make it like a street party - one day a year, everyone brings out their hard rubbish and runs it like a swap-meet. The council can bring down some skips and anything after 5pm that no-one wants can be carried into there. If you were clever about it you could auction some of the better (or worse) stuff off for charity. Hell you could have a band afterwards and everything.
  • Maybe every 3 months rather than once a year.
  • I't fine as is my neighbourhood (Bayside). It happens 2 times a year.
  • One where the council actually came round door to door to collect useable things that could be shared and reused, not just dumped in land fill. Some fee on chucking too much stuff out.

Q7. Please add any other comments you may have about hard rubbish.

  • I am not sure if collecting other people's hard rubbish is legal, but I know everyone does it. It fills me with joy to see piles of hard rubbish outside people's homes in my suburb slowly disappear before they are transported away to the tip - your trash is really someone else's treasure and it's great, I think, that we have such an informal recycling and reusing system in place in our communities.
  • it is an interesting thing, partly bec of the liminal status of the nature strip, people feel a connection to to one in front of where they live and use it (ie hard rubbish, green waste, rubbish, planting flowers etc,) but it is public land at the same time which passerbys interact with.
  • Art and usable things made from hard rubbish is cool
  • There seems to be an informal system where I live and people put stuff they don't want on the nature strip, and people who need it take it.
  • In NZ you hard rubbish is really frowned upon. people are attached to their rubbish, and curse others who 'steal' it. what a shame. i also did a photo essay of it. check it out if have time, there are two sections: all the best! x
  • In the last hard rubbish I noticed people driving trucks around picking up all sorts of things, looking very serious. I wondered if they were collecting for a business? Also, I heard that looking through hard rubbish is illegal, is that true? If it is, that is ridiculous! It is reducing waste and decreasing the amount of new things that need to be bought. I'm not sure where my hard rubbish actually ends up? I guess its not relevant now anyway as I heard that my council (Northcote), has stopped doing hard rubbish now...
  • Catherine Deveney wrote a very funny piece in The Age a couple of years ago about the hard rubbish collection culture in Moreland compared with the Eastern suburbs
  • please may we never lose it
  • it's shocking to see working Tvs, computers, monitors and other gear thrown out. OK they have no retail value, but surely there is a better solution than land-fill?
  • I think it's brilliant. I used to live in Canberra where everyone just takes their hard rubbish to Revolve next to the tip, but having it on nature strips means that the recycling aspect is so much more accessible.
  • Scavanging should be legal everywhere
  • ii like it, its like gifts bestowed by chance, it should be encouraged
  • I love it :-)
  • Once spoke on a public art panel with an artist whose practice involves stencilling text onto larger pieces of hard rubbish - wish I could remember her name... I think it was 2005...
  • I love it. It's also great travelling through more wealthy suburbs during hard rubbish, as wealth seems to breed valuable rubbish for others!
  • a culture supporting hard rubbish swapping is needed
  • So much waste! A lot of the stuff could be fixed and given to those who need one - thing is repairs are actually more expensive than a new appliance now, and those who need these things are not usually in the same area/suburb as those throwing them away. Plenty of potential for resource recovery and sharing here!
  • A lot of Council's in Vic don't do it anymore due to OHS. However, like Moreland and they don't have a tip they still run it. It's great and all Councils should do it.
  • it's an inspiration!
  • Interesting idea, I'm wondering what other people will say.