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Visible Remainders

Part 2 Project 2019
Melvin Tan
National University of Singapore | Singapore
The architecture of the project is about curating leftovers (i.e. refined waste) and to redefine the experience of Aokigahara forest. Facilitated by a mechanical stockpiling system which synthesises chaos and patterns.

On a macro scale, the resultant landscape serves as an aesthetic barometer; measuring conditions and degree of trash generated, as well as its accompanying policies, politics and other socio-economic factors that shape the way we consume.

Secondly, the architecture is about revaluing discarded objects; one that is opposed to capitalistic traditional valuation models, through the process of refinement – with reuse being the practical reason for refined waste. This is the realm of the impermanent, the protean, the fluid, the unpredictable and the confusing.

Through that, the animation of refined waste is used as a tool to revalue waste through the lens of aesthetic experience. At an intimate scale, these piles create conditions of chaos but similarly, allows opportunities for encounters and re-engagement with discarded objects.

Be it scenic, disgusting or even romantic, the encounters with the piles may begin as uncanny and unfamiliar, as it reveals both the beauty and the horror of Japan’s industrial excessiveness. The Aokigahara piling site further dissolves the boundaries between man and nature.

Melvin Tan


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