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The exhibition looks at plans to deal with the Fresh Kills dump on New York’s Staten Island _ once the world’s largest municipal landfill, towering higher than the Statue of Liberty. It shut after becoming the main site for debris from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and is now scheduled to become part of a vast new green space , almost three times the size of Central Park.

The park project, due to last until 2030, is beset by challenges. Recently the site was discovered to be sinking.

Lest we think cleanliness is all good, the show includes a section devoted to the German Hygiene Museum, which in the 1930s embraced the Nazi ideology of “racial hygiene” and advocated the sterilization of Jews and others seen as posing a threat to “racial health.”

The exhibition contains several pleasingly icky exhibits, including “intestinal excreta” from a 19th-century cholera victim.

Scattered throughout are artworks, including sculptures made from human feces _ thankfully, they’re odorless _ and a pile of bricks containing dust donated by London households. One contains a pinch of carpet dust from Benjamin Franklin’s house, another a dash of dust from writer J.G. Ballard’s bookshelves.

London’s King’s Cross, now famous for its railway station, was previously home to the “Great Dustheap,” an ugly mountain of cinder dust, bones and garbage, surrounded by slums. It is long gone, but Londoners still live with it, and in it _ dust from the mound was used in bricks that built the city’s Victorian houses.

The exhibition, which runs to Aug. 31, is curated by the Wellcome Collection, which seeks to bring together science, medicine and art.

“Dirt,” Forde said, “is a very important and profound element in the way we shape our cities.”

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