Inorganic collections. Atmospheric distributions of the sensible and regimes of public space
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Inorganic collections, kerbside collections of inorganic waste that cannot be recycled or disposed of by the regular means, are held in most parts of Auckland twice yearly. In practice, proscribed items are abundant, piles reach gargantuan proportions, and footpaths are disrupted. Salvaging from these piles is common, and accounts for the fondness many Aucklanders feel towards these collections. In this paper I employ inorganic collections as a probe for mapping a regime of public space at work in Auckland’s suburban streets. In the administratively rationalised city, waste is siphoned away from public space, no longer permitted to perform in the relation between me and my neighbour. Inorganic collections, however, undermine or overflow this waste regime. Momentarily, when the inorganic collection takes place, the policed order of the street is disrupted. For a short time waste is not a private matter handled invisibly between myself and the city; but something that activates relationships (disputes, perhaps, but also potentially exchanges or discoveries of things in common or intriguing differences) with my neighbours.