Nestled into a dark corner of the pathway maze that is the SouthBank Centre is a concrete cave with white plastic stalactites and stalagmites growing around the walkway and up the stairs.

Wastescape at the Southbank Centre

This is Wastescape – an art installation that encourages the visitor to reconsider the role of waste in everyday life.

The idea for the display was inspired by the residents of Moravia in Colombia, which was built on the city’s rubbish dump (closed since 1980). The community developed initiatives based on re-using and recycling waste, and in recent years, culture and creativity have come to play an important role in the regeneration of the area and in the political organisation of the community.

In addition to the white intrusions into the concrete walkway, there is an audio track, although to be honest, I couldn’t really make out what was being said and most people who stumbled upon this corner of the Centre didn’t seem that interested in the audio either.

Wastescape at the Southbank Centre

According to the artist, Gayle Chong Kwan: “Wastescape brings together thousands of plastic bottles and food packaging items, predominantly discarded or recycled, which have been crafted into an immersive and cavernous environment that transforms a forgotten space nestling against Hayward Gallery. As you explore the waste landscape you can listen to sound recordings of people from Moravia and London reflecting on urban development and waste.”

I am not sure if it works as a reflection on waste or recycling – as to me it was far more a man-made cave with plastic replacing limestone structures.

Wastescape at the Southbank Centre

Quite interested to wander through if you seek it out, or stumble upon it by accident as I did.

The best way to find it is to go to the roof garden, then leave by its back-entrance.

Wastescape at the Southbank Centre


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