Dumpster 4 (4k HD video, digital photography 7min, color, 2020)

A garbage truck plows through the dawn silence. It pulls into place next to a dumpster at a residential apartment complex, whereupon Diego, a Chilean trash worker in Houston, wheels the dumpster over to the truck. As the dumpster is lifted and its contents spilled out, images of residents show us who produced this trash, while an unnamed narrator tells of the earliest forms of waste management, highlighting how little has changed over thousands of years.

Companies that manage our waste, be it sewage or garbage, water or metal, conspicuously hide their work. This is not because they are evil or practicing without environmental regard. It’s more nefarious than that. It’s to hide our own filth, our own consumption, from us, the filthy consumers. In rarely confronting our waste we are not asked to change our ways, only to replace what is lost, and consume further.

4k HD video, digital photography, 7min, color, 2020.
Featuring: Denise, Jeff, Judy, Jane, Diego
Voiceover: Soledad Varela reading from Rubbish by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy (1992)



Sunday, November 14, 1pm, Rice University -- in-person screening
Friday, November 12, 1pm to Monday, November 15, 1pm -- virtual screening

Aurora Picture Show: SATELLITES

full film link


Cuyler Ballenger (b. 1985 Novato, California) is an art documentary filmmaker. His works are minimal, characterized by personal history, labor and industrial landscapes. Ballenger is interested in the materiality of memory and intergenerational collaboration. He is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of California San Diego.