Waste Not

Barbican exhibition

A poignant meditation on family life and the artist’s own childhood during the Cultural Revolution.

The installation by Song Dong comprises over 10,000 items collected by Song Dong’s mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, over five decades – ranging from a section of the family home, to metal pots and plastic bowls to blankets, bottle caps, toothpaste tubes and toys. The activity of saving and re-using things is in keeping with the Chinese adage wu jin qi yong – ‘waste not’ – a prerequisite for survival during periods of social and political turmoil”. Barbican exhibition Waste Not“Ultimately, Waste Not speaks of the strong bonds between family members and the power of objects to tell stories and shape our lives. The installation invites to intimately relate to their extraordinary life story”.

Taking an inventory of personal possessions can be a healing experience. We are forced to do it periodically, when we move. Further more people do it on regularly voluntarily not only to clear up space but clear the mind. Going through your possessions allows time to reflect as well. It forces to take time and helps to give an overview – another perspective to material possessions and how important or not they are.

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