The North Gateway Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility is a unique site to explore recycling, waste treatment, and issues regarding sustainability within the City of Phoenix. The site, which involved an artist team in its design, features and interior gallery for viewing the station's recycling process. To enhance the educational efforts of the Phoenix Public Works Department, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture's Public Art Program commissioned three individual artists to explore the issues of recycling, sustainability and the environment.
Paho Mann (TX) approached this challenge by photographing over 5,000 pieces of trash and recyclables to create images depicting items found in an average household's waste bin. Christopher Colville (AZ) looked to the landscape surrounding the City to examine what happens when the waste system is not utilized. By contrast, Brian Moss (CA) made images at the facility using an archaic time lapse photographic technique to examine the never ending stream of material brought to the station. The result is a diverse study of how waste is handled and treated, thus opening a dialogue to further educational efforts by the City's recycling program. The images, as well as one artist's trash can camera, are on permanent display at the North Gateway Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility as part of the Municipal Art Collection.
In addition to exhibiting the images at the site, the project consists of a published in a postcard book that combines the images with related information about the Phoenix Recycles program. Books are available to the public and serve to enhance the educational efforts by the City's Solid Waste/ Phoenix Recycles program.
In Phase 2 of the Project, Paho Mann designed a web site enabling students and the public to learn more about the materials, resources and benefits of recycling. It is available at phoenixrecyclingproject.org/index.