According to the City of Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 statistics, residents, businesses and institutions threw away approximately 351,000 tonnes of garbage in 2015. Most of this “waste” is considered valuable resource material that could have been conserved, reused, recycled or composted instead of sent to the landfill or incinerator.
New Delhi-based artist Asim Waqif’s site-specific installation at Offsite combines architecture with a strong contextual reference to contemporary urban design and the politics of urban waste management. Concerns of the environment and social responsibility weave through his work, and for this project Waqif has created an immersive architectural experience built out of materials collected from repurpose stores, the transfer station and landfill in the metro Vancouver area. The structure is assembled using timber, roofing, doors, window frames and sections of walls salvaged from recent demolitions and discarded from local residential and office building.
Many of Waqif’s projects respond to an absence of a tactile, experiential aspect in contemporary art by establishing an element of interactivity inside a living, evolving, organic environment. At Offsite he installs mechanical and electronic panels into his maze-like structures to cultivate a multi-sensory experience with sound, light and movement. Visitors are encouraged to move through the installation, allowing them to activate the architecture. This is the artist’s first exhibition in Canada