WASTELAND is an artwork consisting of a system of concrete actions unfolding through time and various locations in order to disseminate on the international scene a series of “clues” about the existence of a nation of my invention, called Garbage Patch State.

The aim of the work is to better inform the public about the existence of vast assemblages of plastic material in the oceans, called Garbage Patch – one of the most serious phenomena of environmental pollution yet sadly overlooked, precisely because of its lack of iconic identification.

Wasteland was conceived by Maria Cristina Finucci, to create that tangible image which the Garbage Patch was lacking, so as to better convey its existence. I therefore created a plausible semantic apparatus consisting of a flag, a birth registry, a mythology, a web portal, etc., without neglecting more trivial elements such as postcards. It is therefore a fiction, but structured in such a way as to uncover a reality that would otherwise remain hidden.

Since its very first steps, my action attracted considerable media attention, and young people from all over the world responded immediately to its participatory ambition. A crucial aim of my research was indeed to share ideas, working in synergy with students and young people in order to make them feel involved in a shared project.

The name Wasteland clearly refers to the poem by T.S.Eliot, and it is no coincidence if the State was founded in April, “the cruellest month”.

Maria Cristina Finucci


The Wasteland project tends toward an active and social dimension of art that can set examples of good behaviour, a kind of laboratory where current environmental problems can be worked out on a global scale. Today, it is essential for artistic language to create a new imagery that reflects an increasingly complex world, and to provide new keys to understanding reality.

Thus, only an art driven by ethics and poeticized political action can anticipate our decoding of the new global context. In this respect, Maria Cristina Finucci’s Wasteland opens up a new perspective by creating the simulacrum of a Nation, namely the Garbage Patch State. Its very condition of being a simulacrum changes the traditional historical process through the diegesis of a current problem.

From a fictional and symbolic activity, the artistic process thus becomes the sign of a reality that can be approached under a critical, playful and even ironic perspective rather than through traditional documentary strategies. We are encouraged to take a stance and become aware that our future depends on our ability to change our ways of thinking and acting upon the world.

Pedro Medina (curator)