By Melissa Aki
People often say that you can sell anything as long as it's packaged right. Well, artist Justin Gignac did just that by creating Garbage of New York City, actual garbage collected in New York City and packaged in clear airtight cubes. The project started in 2001 after Gignac's co-worker denied the importance of package design, so he decided to package something that was unsellable in order to prove his co-worker wrong.
Each garbage cube is dated, numbered and signed by Gignac and in nine years 1,300 cubes have been sold and are now located in twenty-nine countries, including Russia, Thailand, and Australia. Garbage cubes have been used to decorate bookshelves, desks, and one has even been used as a Christmas tree ornament. The $50 Garbage of New York City cubes consists of hand-picked items such as discarded MetroCards, Starbucks plastic cups, and broken CD's, among other things.
There are even $100 limited edition cubes with trash collected at varying events such as Obama's Inauguration, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, New Year's Day in Times Square and The Republican National Convention. There was even a special project in Dublin, Ireland where garbage was collected at the St. Patrick's Day Parade on behalf of the Dublin City Council. The parade yielded 100 limited edition cubes which consisted of flags of Ireland, Beck's beer labels, and various shamrock-themed items.
Gignac has created miniature cubes as media samples and his innovative way to recycle garbage has caused a buzz in local and international press such as NY Japion, The Guardian, and even Playboy, among others. Gignac even received a thank you letter from Mayor Bloomberg for creating a new use for New York's trash. New York City garbage cubes can be ordered directly from the Garbage of New York City website and the price includes shipping anywhere in the world. The cubes can also be purchased at Reed Space on the Lower East Side.