Michael Flaherty

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The Litter Experiment

Before I began this project I would've imagined that touristy areas and other places you'd think rely upon aesthetics would react to trash almost immediately, that having a vested interest in cleanliness would instigate people to clean up. Not so: this cup remained in place for months despite the number of boat tour operators and other businesses in the area that try to sell St. John's as a beautiful place. Now I've been forced to believe something different: it's not the vested interest that is important, but a sense of ownership that causes people to care for their surroundings (regardless of whether there is monetary profit involved or not). This site is administered by the city and shared by numerous businesses, so no one takes responsibility for cleanliness despite the negative effects bad aesthetics might have. On the other hand another cup placed at a construction site disappeared almost immediately - I was not surprised when I examined the surroundings there and found them to be generally impeccable by construction site standards. In the last picture you can still pick out a few shards several months later.

July 27 1am:

July 27 12pm:

July 27 4pm:

July 28 1pm:

July 29 4pm:

July 30 1pm:

October 8 10pm:


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