Hollywood as Waste Regime: The revalorization of a cast-off mattress as film prop

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1 Scopus citations


With this paper I enter the discussion on waste with the example of the cast-off mattress. In Los Angeles, mattresses left out at curbsides and in alleyways are picked up, put on trucks and brought to mattress recycling centers as part of subsistence scavenging. However, some mattresses also end up in local prop houses and eventually are used as set dressing on films. Once brought into the circulation of objects within the cultural industry of Hollywood, a cast-off and often soiled, ripped and stained mattress attains revalorization through its symbolic role as a functional mattress on screen. Based on ethnographic fieldwork within the film industry, I use the example of a mattress plucked from the street and used in the film Fight Club (1999) to discuss Hollywood as an alternative waste regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-473
Number of pages25
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Fight Club
  • Hollywood
  • Los Angeles
  • film industry
  • props
  • set dressing
  • value
  • waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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