Drawing on DeCerteau’s (1984) philosophy of tactics, which subvert dominant ways of being through creative appropriations of space and behavior, and New Materialist philosophies that offer vitality and agency to non-human objects (Barad, 2007; Bennett, 2004; 2010), this paper explores a three-part series of participatory, public art interventions related to waste, consumption and material relationships. The three installations were distinct but connected, situated in public spaces and corridors as a means of disrupting daily moments while encouraging moments of pause to be with discarded, material objects in playful and creative ways (de Certeau, 1984; Debord, 1956). With these installations we challenged hierarchical perceptions of object matter by encouraging care and attentiveness to these discarded objects through imaginative story-building. This attentiveness to discard objects further invited compassionate ways of being with this matter that may extend to other forms of life matter, in pursuit of more sustainable and socially just practices of being (and becoming). Through a combination of photographs, participant accounts, and materials created during the installations, this article explores the stories of these events and the ways in which such work may open space for arts-based pedagogical encounters (O’Sullivan, 2006).