Cultivating Waste

Abstract: As recent graduates of visual cultures, we’ve become engaged in reflecting together on our academic experience and on how knowledge is produced within academic environments. We question how institutions and academia define the spectrum of value and the consequent impact on formulating research questions. The image essay ‘Cultivating Waste’ is a step within an ongoing experiment between five people (one research collective) who are imagining ways to collectivise. We reject the myth of the excellence of singularity and enjoy the enmeshment of shared processes. We purposely preserve different aspects of our shared (writing) process, which include the proliferation of comments and early drafts to blur the boundaries of what is deemed valuable.

Keywords: archiving, educational structures/methodologies, affects, waste


Cultivating Waste’ is an image essay that works as a step within an ongoing experiment between five people who imagine ways to collectivise. We reject the myth of the excellence of singularity and enjoy the enmeshment of shared processes. We purposely kept aspects of our shared editing process, letting comments proliferate and including early drafts in the ‘final’ essay to blur the boundaries of what we deemed valuable.

We are concerned with how knowledge circulates within universities, how they embed themselves in the production of both material and immaterial waste, and their participation in imperial epistemologies. As we continue to witness environmental violence and social injustice, educational institutions play a critical role in allowing thoughts to be thought, feelings to be felt, and research questions to be researched. We invite readers to scroll through the image-essay as it navigates scales of intellectual waste production, from the macroscale of the institution to the microscale of the body. ‘Cultivating Waste’ amplifies what is—or can be—discarded. It is an exercise in writing and visualising a process of working with(in) the ruptures of concept-making and weaving the discards into an impermanent re-assembled form of reading-thinking.

Note: to zoom in, scroll down. 

Cultivating-Waste_OneResearchCollective (2)
one research collective

one research collective is comprised of five individuals, Séverine Chapelle, Andrea Macias-Yañez, Giovanna Reder, Caterina Selva, and Sanjana Varghese, who met while studying at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

As a collaborative research group, we rehearse attending to the affective and the relational by exploring our intellectual and physical companionship. We start from intimate and non-productive grounds to investigate the material and political resonances of inherited procedures, whether that’s academic, technological or representational. By working with(in) the ruptures that these create, we attend to what is lost and what is kept, what is valued and discarded. We search for connected heterogeneities. We like to slow down and open up, to take apart and re-assemble, to juxtapose, narrate and rehearse. We imagine ways to collectivise, refuse the excellence of singularity, and enjoy the enmeshment of shared processes.