Kevin Lynch’s “Wasting Away”

by Duncan


Ideally this post would start with a clip from Idiocracy, Luke Wilson’s hibernation capsule crashing through a garbage avalanche of the future, but THIS is the best I could find. Compare Mike Judge’s version of an idiotic waste fate with Kevin Lynch’s: In Wasting Away, Lynch imagines two opposing trash-worlds: a “waste cacotopia” overflowing in garbage, and a super-efficient “wasteless cacotopia” where it is heavily restricted. In the first fantasy, waste accumulates and is shunned: unchecked factory debris is stuffed into the earth and shot at the sun, lower classes maintain indoor cleanliness for the rich, toxic fumes poison the air, and Earth plummets toward greenhouse-gas self-destruction. In the wasteless world, all forms of excess are made technically extinct: food is genetically manipulated into cube form, humans are genetically standardized to simplify clothes manufacturing and simplify going to the bathroom, and the world contorts grotesquely to maximize efficiency. Lynch’s point is that a healthy society doesn’t drive out waste, it coexists with it.


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