The Concept behind XSProject was conceived in the mid-1990s in the Philippines by Ann Wizer, an artist and activist, who used plastic trash to make costumes, set designs, sculpture and art installations as a direct expression against environmental abuse. In 2000 Wizer moved with her family to Jakarta, Indonesia where she lived next to a community, or kampung, of trash pickers. Immediately drawn by their extreme poverty and common “language” of trash, Wizer grabbed a translator and went into the kampung to find out how she could work with these people. This resulted in a shift of Wizer’s work from a private studio practice into a social art practice. Although its efforts have expanded in the years since, XSProject still works with the original group of trash pickers.
XSProject started as an “out-of-studio” experiment through which Ann worked side-by-side with the kampung, identifying waste that was left uncollected, not biodegradable, and considered worthless. By experimenting with durability, production processes, and markets, Wizer developed the first tote bags made When XSProject started in 2000, the idea that consumer products made from garbage could have a market was considered revolutionary.from the plastic packaging material that is used for detergents, shampoos, and other liquid products, used throughout Indonesia and other parts of Asia. The production model for XSProject sought to strengthen small, struggling community organizations found throughout Indonesia, by training members to work with the plastic waste materials to produce XSProject products.
The bags and other consumer goods XSProject made were an instant success among expats living in Indonesia and travelers that passed through Jakarta. Drawn by the eco-friendly concept, numerous individuals spent time with Wizer, learning her designs and manufacturing processes. As a result, dozens of replicas sprang up across Indonesia, other parts of Asia, and even the United States. By catalyzing these enterprises, XSProject was able to magnify its environmental impact hundreds of times over.