Plastic bags, newspapers, pizza boxes, razors, watches, diapers, toothbrushes … What makes a thing disposable? Which of its properties allows us to treat it as if it did not matter, or as if it actually lacked matter? Why do so many objects appear to us as nothing more than brief flashes between checkout-line and landfill?
In An Ontology of Trash, Greg Kennedy inquires into the meaning of disposable objects and explores the nature of our prodigious refuse. He takes trash as a real ontological problem resulting from our unsettled relation to nature. The metaphysical drive from immanence to transcendence leaves us in an alien world of objects drained of meaningful physical presence. Consequently, they become interpreted as beings that somehow essentially lack being, and exist in our technological world only to disappear. Kennedy explores this problematic nature and looks for possibilities of salutary change.