Aesthetically Enjoyable 'Under Our Hill' Installation Encapsulates Critical Information on Jakarta's Waste Issues
The project is an immersive installation that showcases the massive scale of our trash hill and the reality of the Bantar Gebang landfill. The goals are to intrigue and give an in-depth understanding by creating a visceral experience that opens the opportunity for positive and intellectual exchanges about an issue that otherwise tends to be ignored by Jakarta's urban society.
The art installation comprises an enveloping skin made of repurposed plastic waste that encloses visitors from above, giving an immersive spatial experience of being underneath a pile of trash. With an elevation of 4 metres, the installation is a 1:10 representation of the Bantar Gebang trash hill.
To raise awareness about waste issues, the designer AT-LARS naturally thought of a zero waste solution for the temporary installation. A scaffolding structure, which AT-LARS is well familiar with, is chosen as the core of the provoking art installation due to its versatility, quickness, and availability. The structure gives us a three-dimensional gridded blank canvas for composing a geometry of the trash hill.
The hill is sculpted of an ensemble of single-use plastics pasted together by the local 'ibu-ibu' (mothers) and made into large plastic patchworks. The plastic patchworks were weaved into the scaffolding at various heights, resulting in a massive colourful roof-like enclosure.
The installation narrates the problem of our daily waste issue by creating space under the plastic waste envelope, where people can learn, ponder, and interact. It consists of informative panels, a centerpiece table displaying a real-life recycling guide, benches made of pressed water bottles, and an array of local waste-based products. By the end of the exhibition, visitors were encountered by a 1:10 figurine that helped them imagine the massive scale of the trash hill, which they ultimately took part in making.
With a population of 250 million, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country and second-largest plastic polluter in the world after China. Indonesia's capital Jakarta alone has a population of 10.5 million. Estimates suggest the amount of waste sent to landfill from Jakarta rose from 6,645 tonnes per day in 2017 to 7,703 tonnes in 2019. The city dumps most of its waste in a landfill in Bantar Gebang, a district around 25 kilometres away. In use since 1986, the 110-hectare site is filling fast with waste piling up to 40 metres high. The waste sent to Bantar Gebang remains mixed and unsorted.
Confronted with this reality and aiming to raise awareness, waste management startup Jangjo and architecture office AT-LARS joined forces to create an installation about waste management issues in the middle of Jakarta's upscale business district. AT-LARS believes that architecture and spatial experience can help people realise and understand just how real a particular case is. Therefore, people can also realise their ability to create an impact in society.
UNDER OUR HILL is not just an installation; it is a stage where the visitors become the audience and the actor simultaneously. It is designed to be aesthetically enjoyable and encapsulates critical information about waste issues in Jakarta, hoping to give a lasting impression of the vital and urgent message that Jangjo and AT-LARS wish to advocate.