Freedom Trash Can
barrel, paint, lights, fan, silk, bricks
Within our imaginations and the popular collective memory of the feminist movement, the act of demonstrative burning of the "instruments of torture" (brassieres, high-heeled shoes, cosmetics, ...) in the improvised freedom trash can has an important position. How disquieting for us to find out that there are doubts and disputes whether the burning actually happened!
In 1968 about 100 women gathered to demonstrate against the Miss America pageant at the Atlantic City convention center. A centerpiece of their demonstration was the so-called "freedom trash can" in which protesters dropped brassieres, girdles, high-heeled shoes, and copies of playboy and cosmopolitan magazines. Surprisingly, the organizers of the protest have long insisted that nothing had been set ablaze and the fire is a media myth. On the other hand, there are eye-witnesses who claim to remember some protestors putting their bras into the freedom trash can and setting the can on fire.
This blurred situation of collective remembering and individual forgetting - the burning can myth - was extended and materialized here as an image of the eternal flame that used to burn next to monuments, a mythological "vestal fire". The fake burning can becomes an offspring of the spectacle, a collective illusion/dellusion or the wishful thinking of several generations, as well as a home decoration or a functional lamp.