The Story of Mona Lüders

Find out why Berlin-based photographer Mona Lüders created Windows of Consumption, an art project that puts the waste problem up on display.


Plastic waste as a mirror

“With my photo series, I want to raise awareness about the luxury of consumption that we’ve become accustomed to in the West. When I throw something away over here in Berlin, it disappears from sight. But when I was living in a city in India as part of a yoga teacher training, there were no public services for street cleaning and the mountains of rubbish just piled up. Households dumped their waste directly into the sea. That made me realise that our living standard is not universal.”


Shedding light on the effects of consumerism

“By using trash to obstruct the view, I am challenging the public to understand that the “garbage” they produce from excess consumption is blocking their ability to live a more self-aware life. The triumph of what we want – over what we need – has led to the human tragedy of over-indulgence. While ads continue to fuel the consumerist frenzy with promises of feeling more fulfilled and connected, the reality is that we live in a society plagued by emotional emptiness and isolation. Similarly, Windows of Consumption is a contradiction. Unsightly waste becomes a thing of beauty, the strewn about materials take on a cohesive form, and windows become as illuminating as they are obstructing.”


Using waste to reflect on our habits

“The trash we produce through our consumption is a personal display of one’s lifestyle. What I learnt through my art project is that we are what we waste; you can see an individual’s preferences, habits and indulgence embodied in the window displays that I help make. I believe that each of us has the responsibility to reflect on our ‘waste identity’, to confront the magnitude of our negative impact, and to feel accountable. I hope that through Windows of Consumption both the participants and the audience can feel inspired and motivated to team up in finding creative solutions to our collective waste problem.”


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About changemaker Mona

Mona Lüders started her modelling career at the age of 15 and moved to New York after graduating high school. New York was where she discovered her love for art and photography and decided to study classic painting and printmaking at the National Academy of Fine Arts. After completing her degree, she worked as an assistant for art consultant Neal Meltzer and Kreemart. To pursue photography professionally, Mona left New York for Berlin, where she attended the Lette Verein School of Design. She has been working as a photography assistant and freelance photographer since 2016. Go to Mona’s website.