The Recycle Labyrinth, Cape Town Earth Festival, 2003

The Reconciliation Labyrinth design was used as the basis of an installation dubbed the “Recycle Labyrinth” and installed for a week at the Nelson Mandela Gateway Museum at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town. A part of the Cape Town Earth Festival, 32 organisations took part in building the four quadrants of the labyrinth which depicted the need to balance our need for sustenance from the earth and our need to preserve it.

Depending on which entrance one entered, one either started with the good news or the bad news first. Entering from the right one first encountered the Black quadrant in which the Solid Waste Department of the City of Cape Town had erected lines using wheelie bins and displays showing the mess of human waste, how landfills are rapidly becoming filled, how the seas are poluted. The next quadrant, the Blue quadrant had Recyclers of cans, paper, plastics, glass demonstrating their work and the third (Yellow) quadrant was populated by Reusers in the form of local crafters from the Red Shed. The final quadrant, (Green) - or the first if one had entered on the left - was a positive quadrant populated by City Improvement District displays, and such products promoting Reducing such as waterless urinals, and environmentally sensitive manufacturing processes. Once this circuit had been completed walkers entered the centre where they found personel fromthe Provincial Envirnomental Affairs Department who gave information to walkers to answer the question “What’s waste got to do with me?” which headed the pamphlet they’d been given upon entry to the labyrinth.

Walkers could then reenter the world ‘in a new way’ via a passage lined with panels made of alien vegetation by a ‘Working for Water’ job creation programme.