Italicts - Quoted Text
- Areas linked to waste
- Areas linked to solutions of waste problem
- Areas linked to consumerism
'Credo General Reference' Definitions
At the other end of the product life cycle, consumerism includes the practice of discarding broken, out-of-fashion, and even slightly used products, making room for new acquisitions. This has resulted in a huge and rapidly moving waste stream that itself has become problematic. Most social theorists agree that contemporary consumerism began at the dawn of the 20th century and gathered momentum with an expanding middle class in Europe and North America after World War II. With modern globalization it has spread worldwide, wherever consumer products and associated images and narratives have penetrated societies whose traditional cultural economies have been disrupted by colonialist or neoliberal restructuring.
Waste is what remains after the production of goods or the extraction of resources, whether by humans or machines.
Waste comes in a bewildering variety of forms but can be categorised in two basic ways. First is its state: gaseous, liquid, or solid, with subcategories of all kinds within these broader categories. Waste can also be of organic origin or composition (animal excrement, wood pulp, plastics) or inorganic (typically metals). Waste may also be categorized by its toxicity. Some waste is relatively harmless, such as used paper. Some is harmless in and of itself but presents environmental hazards if not properly disposed of, such as plastic containers. Some waste, such as human or animal excrement, is not toxic per se, but it presents a health hazard if it contaminates water supplies, for instance. Finally, some waste, such as heavy metals, radioactive materials, or certain chemicals, is highly toxic to human health and the environment. (Nuclear and toxic wastes will receive little discussion here; for a more thorough discussion, see the chapters Nuclear Energy and Toxic Waste, respectively.)
Second, waste can be categorized by its source. There is waste associated with agricultural production, manufacturing, resource extraction, consumption, and human bodily functions. This chapter will largely focus on household waste.
By definition, waste is not useful or wanted, at least in its immediate state. It can be, and often is, recycled into useful material or products, or, in the case of organic wastes, used as compost or burned for energy. Whether reused or not, waste must almost always be removed in a timely fashion from where it is immediately produced—be it the farm, the factory, or the household.
I am looking into this particular theme as I have a personal interest in the preservation of our planet, and what our long term effect on it may be. Having studied both economics and geography at A Level, I have become critically aware of the environmental impacts that consumerism and materialistic wealth has had. Trump’s recently elected presidential status has made this even more of a concern to me, as he believes global warming is a Chinese conspiracy theory, and therefore not something to be of a concern. As a result, he has been taking actions that don’t consider how they may impact the environment, for example, he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Not only Trump’s actions, but our actions as a society, taking greater interest in our material wealth as a result of media, has led us to overlook how our selfish desires may have a long term impact on our plant.
Not only does this harm the planet on which we live, it harms our bodies too. New diseases are developing as a result of us consuming products like tobacco, fast foods, as well as fish that have been contaminated with the plastic as a result of our waste being dumped in the sea.
Primary Research - below are some images that i have taken myself, all showing waste and litter left on the streets of London. A demonstration of the problems our environment is facing. A majority made up of plastic (which takes around 450 years to decompose) and metal (which can take up to 500 years to decompose). The first few images were taken all on the same street, within a 200m radius. Only a small snapshot of the issues of waste that we are faced with.
Some plastic bottles can even take up to 1000 years to decompose !!!
The following artists all involve some form of collection. They have collected objects that fall into the theme of consumerism, cultures, and waste.
Jean Francois Boclé - Everything Must Go (2016)
When i saw Boclé's piece, "everything must go" at the Saatchi gallery, it had a huge impact on me. This piece gave the impression of a body of water, which was purely made out of plastic bags, highlighting the fact that our oceans are made up of huge quantities of waste. It was extremely effective as it filled up an entire room with densely packed bags filled with air, which helped to reflect and demonstrate to us the problems that we have created through excess waste.
"Jean-François Boclé’s metaphorical installations propose a wasteland in which the ruins of civilisation are shored against its discontents. The artist’s alchemical process involves bringing everyday objects into a network of relations, highlighting dialectics such as capitalism and consumerism, privilege and injustice, and so forth. His playful appropriations and gestures are rooted in the question of postcolonial consciousness and collective history. Bananas inscribed with political text, animated chocolate drawings, blown up carrier bags, and flattened cardboard boxes, become devises for the communication of historical narratives. Inevitably, they become infected by a multiplicity of meanings and associations with the introduction of the final component: an audience...
In his large-scale installations (Tout doit disparaître! /Everything Must Go, 2004) a sea of blue plastic bags form an abyss, a quasi-memorial to lives lost at sea during the transatlantic slave trade. The ubiquitous plastic bags of supermarket checkouts become air inflated, supplied with oxygen to symbolise the priceless commodity that is life itself. His inverted monument signals what has been lost over the course of histories exchange, the quantity of bags channeling a symbolic force. Art becomes a stand in for an act of disappearance, the installation a site of loss beyond memory, making visible that which is unrepresentable. " - https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/jean_francois_bocle.htm?section_name=pangaea_II - Saatchi
Jean-François Boclé - Boat (2004)-
installation of cardboard (several hundreds mercantile signs ripped from cardboard packaging collected in the world since 1995: Up, Down, Fragile, Handle with care, etc), strings, various tapes, electrical cables, bulbs, electric transformer 220V-24V, variable dimensions (45 x 330 x 1000 cm) - http://www.jeanfrancoisbocle.com/works/installation/boat/bildmuseet.html
To me, the overall aesthetic of this pieces touches on the topic of Globalisation. Boclé has created what looks to be a cargo ship, which is composed out of packaging boxes used within trade, which have been bound together with string. Our oceans are flooded with these containerisation ships as demand increases for outsourced goods. As a result, there is an accumulation of cardboard build up, as well pollution.
"The environmental impact of shipping includes greenhouse gas emissions, acoustic, and oil pollution. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping were equal to 2.2% of the global human-made emissions in 2012 and expects them to rise by as much as 2 to 3 times by 2050 if no action is taken." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_shipping - Wikipedia
Portia Munson, Reflecting Pool (2013)
"My most recent installation, “Reflecting Pool” (exhibited at PPOW Gallery, NYC, 2013), is a 15 ft diameter above-ground pool containing thousands of found blue plastic objects. The objects are organized in shades of blue so that they flow, giving the effect of water. As in my related work, each individual bit of plastic represents the millions of discarded multiples that have been rapidly accumulating and polluting our world. Ironically, while the colour blue represents clean and clear water, sky and air, these objects are pieces of trash that I collected from roadsides, streams ocean shorelines and landfills. “Reflecting Pool,” like my earlier installations, is a meditation on how mass consumption defines society.
This project, like the others, is a reminder of how rapidly plastic objects are produced, consumed and discarded before they then spend the majority of their synthetic existence as waste, leaving nature to wage the long-fought battle of decomposition in landfills and ocean gyres." - http://www.portiamunson.com/installations/reflecting-pool.php Portia Munson
This piece is very similar to Boclé's piece above, "Everything Must Go", as it uses the same method of collection and presentation in order to re-represent a space; the ocean. Again, Munson collects blue plastic objects, and arranges them in a way to demonstrate a pool of water. However, i feel that the overall aesthetic is not as successful as Bocle's piece. I think this is due to it being inconsistent with the objects used, and it does not hold the same delicate and fragile quality that the inflated plastic bags do. Munson's piece looks more like a collection, rather than a sculpture in itself, as each object does not interract with the other in a way that is as systematic and uniform as Boclé's piece. I will learn from this and take this on board when creating my own pieces of work.
Maha Malluh, Food For Thought (2016) - 233 burnt pots
"Living and working in Saudi Arabia, artist Maha Malluh’s work centres upon the impact of globalisation and consumer culture within her nation. “My inspiration for art comes from my country, a land of contrasting images and ideas. Good art… forces you to pause, to contemplate and think harder about your surroundings.” Her sculptures are assemblages of objects found in junk shops and flea markets, their decrepit state speaking volumes of the culture that once valued but has now discarded them. Food for Thought – Al-Muallaqat is composed of aluminium cooking pots used traditionally throughout the Arab world. The title Al- Muallaqat links the installation to pre-Islamic 6th century Suspended Odes or Hanging Poems traditionally hung in Mecca. What poetry then do these pots contain? And of what lives and stories could they sing?" - http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/maha_malluh.htm?section_name=champagne-life Saatchi
Growing up in the village of Venta Cajibio in Columbia, Imbachi noticed how there was an “impact of industrialisation on his own soil”. This led him to face an ongoing exploration of the natural landscape and topographies of his rural department of Cauca. He catalogued the “transformations and mutations” in the landscape that he lived through in real time, and represented it with this artistic response: ‘The Poetics of Reflection’. This idea of reflection symbolises how one side poetically resembles the other, for over time increased deforestation has led to the birth of new towns and cities. Perhaps this reflection is demonstrating how new steel constructions have replaced the life of naturally grown forestry. We get an impression of this idea through the Saatchi Gallery’s description of this piece, as it states:
“The outcome has been a naturalistic reimagining of biological processes through detailed accounts of fantastical plant forms and futuristic realties.”
The evolution of global traits and cultures that Imbachi saw in Columbia is becoming increasingly present in our day to day lives. We are constantly faced with the aim to combat environmental degradation, whilst still wanting to continue to grow and develop the global economy at a rapid pace.
Although the artist intends to display this landscape, I found that by turning his work portrait, with the telephone tower on the top, allows one to interpret it in an entirely different way. Instead of it being symbolic of the past renewed to the present, it now generates the idea of support. By viewing it with the telephone tower on top being supported by the tree, it seems as though the industrial tower is now growing out of its own organic roots. This, to me, could perhaps demonstrate the origin of industrialisation, and how it roots from natural matter. Without having our natural resources derived from the earth’s soils, industrialisation would have never been born. Rather than viewing it as a fight for survival for the trees, this work can now be viewed as trees supporting and providing for the transition of culture.
Installation within public spaces
Susannah Morgan, Hatfield Forest Paper
Incorporating waste materials into the physical environment is something that i am interested in exploring. Morgan has done this by working within forests, where she uses the trees as a frame to drape paper across. It has an eye-catching effect, as the materials so heavily contrast from the environment of which they are situated in.
Susannah Morgan, Woolwich Tunnel
I like the way in which Morgan has repeated this installation within a different public environment. The paper holds a completely different shape within the tunnel, as it is placed within a consistent space, allowing it to drape in a uniform way. This demonstrates the importance of the environment of which you should choose to install your work, as it will completely adjust the way it gets translated to the eye.
Packard V. The Waste Makers / Vance Packard ; introduction by Bill McKibben.
"OUR TRASH ALWAYS COMES BACK TO US"
" Tara Donovan (b. 1969, New York) creates large-scale installations and sculptures made from everyday objects. Known for her commitment to process, she has earned acclaim for her ability to discover the inherent physical characteristics of an object and transform it into art. " - http://www.pacegallery.com/artists/111/tara-donovan - Pace
Donovan's use of plastic materials and other everyday objects falls into this theme that i am exploring of waste. She has been helping to address the issue by effectively recycling the objects through her art, like Boclé and Munson also did with their installations. Looking at the way in which she creates sculptures that take an organic form is something that i will consider when exploring and assembling the materials that i collect.
I like the way in which the final sculptural form takes on a rather delicate composition, where it looks fragile and vulnerable within the gallery space. Each piece shown here also takes on the colour of white, white being known as pure and clean, and this has helped to disguise the waste as something non-threatening and nonpolluting. I would like to make pieces of work that hold similar characteristics of this, as it helps to demonstrate the fragility of the environment.
Untitled (Styrofoam Cups)-2008
Untitled (Plastic Cups) - 2006
Buttons and glue) - 2013
Solution to Plastic Waste?
Rather than just looking into the negative impacts of waste and the quantities that get produced, this project could also look at the solutions... Below is a link to an article i found which could be potential solution to our problem.
This is article presents an effective solution for the prevailing issues of waste, as it is a renewable long-term solution that does not involve landfill sites, and will completely reduce the mass of waste on our planet. However, I have noticed concerns with this idea;
1) it would lead to a greater production of CO2, a greenhouse gas contributing to Global Warming
2) this solution doesn't have an impact on the plastic waste in the sea
3) it is ineffective for certain types of plastics e.g. polystyrene
"Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to mounting waste, Stanford researchers discover
An ongoing study by Stanford engineers, in collaboration with researchers in China, shows that common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic.
BY ROB JORDAN
Consider the plastic foam cup. Every year, Americans throw away 2.5 billion of them. And yet, that waste is just a fraction of the 33 million tons of plastic Americans discard every year. Less than 10 percent of that total gets recycled, and the remainder presents challenges ranging from water contamination to animal poisoning.
Enter the mighty mealworm. The tiny worm, which is the larvae form of the darkling beetle, can subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene, according to two companion studies co-authored by Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. Microorganisms in the worms' guts biodegrade the plastic in the process – a surprising and hopeful finding.
"Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem," Wu said.
The papers, published in Environmental Science and Technology, are the first to provide detailed evidence of bacterial degradation of plastic in an animal's gut. Understanding how bacteria within mealworms carry out this feat could potentially enable new options for safe management of plastic waste.
"There's a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places," said Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering who supervises plastics research by Wu and others at Stanford. "Sometimes, science surprises us. This is a shock."
Plastic for dinner
In the lab, 100 mealworms ate between 34 and 39 milligrams of Styrofoam – about the weight of a small pill – per day. The worms converted about half of the Styrofoam into carbon dioxide, as they would with any food source.
Within 24 hours, they excreted the bulk of the remaining plastic as biodegraded fragments that look similar to tiny rabbit droppings. Mealworms fed a steady diet of Styrofoam were as healthy as those eating a normal diet, Wu said, and their waste appeared to be safe to use as soil for crops.
Researchers, including Wu, have shown in earlier research that waxworms, the larvae of Indian mealmoths, have microorganisms in their guts that can biodegrade polyethylene, a plastic used in filmy products such as trash bags. The new research on mealworms is significant, however, because Styrofoam was thought to have been non-biodegradable and more problematic for the environment.
Researchers led by Criddle, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, are collaborating on ongoing studies with the project leader and papers' lead author, Jun Yang of Beihang University in China, and other Chinese researchers. Together, they plan to study whether microorganisms within mealworms and other insects can biodegrade plastics such as polypropylene (used in products ranging from textiles to automotive components), microbeads (tiny bits used as exfoliants) and bioplastics (derived from renewable biomass sources such as corn or biogas methane).
As part of a "cradle-to-cradle" approach, the researchers will explore the fate of these materials when consumed by small animals, which are, in turn, consumed by other animals.
Marine diners sought
Another area of research could involve searching for a marine equivalent of the mealworm to digest plastics, Criddle said. Plastic waste is a particular concern in the ocean, where it fouls habitat and kills countless seabirds, fish, turtles and other marine life.
More research is needed, however, to understand conditions favorable to plastic degradation and the enzymes that break down polymers. This, in turn, could help scientists engineer more powerful enzymes for plastic degradation, and guide manufacturers in the design of polymers that do not accumulate in the environment or in food chains."
NASA's Garbage Patch Visualization Experiment
Our ability to neglect what we cannot see for ourselves is one of the biggest issues that we face. From watching these videos you can become aware of how even though we may not physically see the impact of plastic waste on where we live, this does not mean the issue is not there. A huge portion of waste collects in the middle of the Pacific Ocean no where to be seen, and as a result, many people do not feel the need to act upon resolving it.
Plastic waste gets deposited within the Pacific from all over the world, ranging from North Korea to California
Notes taken from video:
1) "People do not realise that, if the oceans are in trouble, we too are in trouble"
2) In order to provoke a reaction from the public, we need to "Make these issues personal"
3) Papahanaumokuakea Marine Environment In the Pacific (home to a vast amount of wildlife) collects tens of thousands of pounds of garbage every year, all from around the world ... ranging from bottles and lighters, to computers and lorry tires.
Digging into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
David Hockney (Tate Exhibition)
Notes taken whilst going through Hockney Exhibition:
1) It was interesting to see how Hockney was so heavily influenced by the transition of time, in terms of architecture, as well as technology as a source of his work. He moved on from painting more traditional spaces of housing, to two point perspective, block sky scrapers, and moved on from using acrylic paints to video and iPads.
2) A Bigger Splash 1997- I felt that this piece was similar to the making of a digital computerised architectural design for building plans. A digital interpretation to what the building may turn out to be.
3) All the characters and people within his paintings hold blank expressions. They are positioned to either stand facing with their profile looking straight forward, or with their side profile looking straight across. This helps to disguise any personality or character within his paintings, as they are all stood or sitting in the same positions. One person tends to be looking at the other, whilst the other looks straight directly towards you.
4) A lot of his paintings contain a portal element, which looks into a new area of space- whether it through mountain ranges, windows, mirrors, or another painting within the painting.
Art Now, Rachel Maclean: Wot U :-) About?
"It’s What’s Inside That Counts 2016 parodies social media, advertising, children’s television programmes and fairy tales, subjects that appear frequently in Maclean’s work. The film borrows techniques global corporations use to sell well-being, youth and happiness by bombarding us with imagery and preying on our anxieties. This new film and the related prints critique consumption in all its forms, focusing particularly on our dependence on technology. Playing all of her characters herself, Maclean uses green-screen backdrops to create sinister animated environments. A blankly glamorous celebrity figure embodies data, feeding a desperate crowd with selfies and internet cables until her system is hacked. This technological collapse causes a complete breakdown in the sick society Maclean depicts, but she gives little sense that anything better will replace it." - Tate http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/rachel-maclean-wot-u-about
I saw this piece at the Tate Britain, alongside David Hockney's exhibition mentioned above. Maclean's work is another demonstration of how our values have changed, leading us to value material wealth much more. Her video is extremely effective, in demonstrating the ways in which we become almost hypnotised by technology due to the way we so heavily rely on it. Not just the message behind the work, but the video itself was also extremely disturbing. It made me feel uncomfortable as all these alien like figures, which also resembled humans, came on the screen, singing pray like songs with their hands clasped together (which to me demonstrated the way we so religiously connect to the internet). Chipmunk like high pitched voices also came on, dancing along with emojis and game signs, all representing the aspects of the internet we know so well.
Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about?
Tony Cragg, Spyrogrya - 1992-95
Sand blasted Glass and Steel (240 x 500 x 290 cm)
Cragg's use of materials here reminded me of my visits to the beach. You find sea glass washed up on coasts all over the world, all characterised with the same polished finish and softened edges due them going through the processes of abrasion and erosion within the ocean. Cragg has achieved the similar finish by "Sand Blasting" the bottles surface. Not only this, but the way in which he has arranged the bottles on a curved steal frame helps to translate it to something dynamic, like the ocean's waves. By placing them in this position, It highlights the fact that bottles have been through this process themselves. His choice of colours are like those you would find within the waves; white being the foam, and navy blue being the deeper areas of the water.
Tony Cragg, Forminifera 1990
This piece reminded me of the image given with the article i posted above, about the solution to plastic waste. Porous holes dominate the surface texture of each individual object. From the image, it seems that the objects take the shape of once used (plastic) containers, that have then been discarded. This is what i would expect plastic objects to look like after being consumed by larvae. This piece touches on the solution of waste, as opposed to the impact of waste.
Tony Cragg is one of the world’s foremost sculptors. Constantly pushing to find new relations between people and the material world, there is no limit to the materials he might use, as there are no limits to the ideas or forms he might conceive. His early, stacked works present a taxonomical understanding of the world, and he has said that he sees manmade objects as “fossilized keys to a past time which is our present”. So too, the floor and wall arrangements of objects that he started making in the 1980s blur the line between manmade and natural landscapes: they create an outline of something familiar, where the contributing parts relate to the whole. Cragg has always had, from an early age, a passionate interest in science and natural history and worked as a young man as a lab technician at the National Rubber Producers Research Association (1966–68), an experience that is reflected in his vigorous approach to material. He has said, “I see a material or an object as having a balloon of information around it” (1992). For him form and meaning are interdependent, any change in form changes the ‘balloon of information” and vice versa, so that any change in materials also changes meaning and significance. Cragg understands sculpture as a study of how material and material forms affect and form our ideas and emotions.
This is exemplified in the way in which Cragg has worked and reworked two broad bodies of work he calls Early Forms and Rational Beings. The Early Forms explore the possibilities of sculpturally reforming familiar objects such as containers into new and unfamiliar forms producing new emotional responses, relationships and meanings. Rational Beings explore the relationship between two apparently different aesthetic descriptions of the world; the rational, mathematically based formal constructions that go to build up the most complicated of organic forms that we respond to emotionally. The human figure being the prime example of something that looks ultimately organic eliciting emotional responses, while being fundamentally an extremely complicated geometric composition of molecules, cells, organs and processes. His work does not imitate nature and what we look like, rather it concerns itself with why we look like we do and why we are as we are.
Michael Landy, Break Down (2001)
Michael Landy's project, Break Down, forces us to question how we value of our possessions. By physically destroying everything that he owned through a mechanical process, and then display it on a conveyor belt in lots of little pieces, demonstrates to us our obsession with material wealth This process seems absurd to all of us, and we question WHY anyone would ever do this. But i feel that Landy has demonstrated to us that there is more meaning to life than just the objects we use to accessorise our everyday experiences.
"Michael Landy made an inventory of every single thing he owned: every item of furniture, every book, every work of art, every article of clothing and one Saab car. Cataloguing all his possessions took a year to complete and the final list comprised 7,227 items.
A specially constructed facility modelled on a material reclamation factory was installed and opened to the public in an empty department store on Oxford Street. Landy then set about systematically destroying all his possessions with the help of a team of operatives and a dedicated car mechanic.
Classified into ten categories – Artworks, Clothing, Equipment, Furniture, Kitchen, Leisure, Motor Vehicle, Perishables, Reading Material and Studio Material – the stuff of Landy's life circulated on a system of roller conveyors moving like a large Scalextric track around the empty store. Each individual possession was then systematically taken apart, broken down, pulped and granulated. After two weeks every single thing that Landy had once owned was no more. He was a man without possessions.
In an earlier work, Landy had plastered 'Everything Must Go' over the walls of a London gallery. In Break Down, 'Everything Did Go'. It proved to be Michael Landy's most ambitious – and most extreme – project to date."
I see this as the ultimate consumer choice. Once Break Down has finished, a more personal 'break down' will commence, life without my self-defining belongings… One way or other I'm trying to get rid of myself, so it's kind of the ultimate way without actually dispensing of me. – Michael Landy
Key information derived from above text:
Cities, Consumption and Disposable Society
- Consumption "shapes urban development"
- Consumption = production + advertisement + transportation + commerce of products = Waste
- Cities are experiencing "health impacts" as a result of waste contaminating water, air and soil
"Through the increasing accumulation of solid waste, the social and environmental dimensions of these issues become visible"
- Rural urban migration often means adoption of “consumption orientated individualistic lifestyles”
- Governments do not recognise waste management as a priority
“Urban growth is synonymous with increase in waste”
- One problem yet to be tackled is packaging waste “packaging is classified as all materials for containment, handling, and delivery products, goods, and raw materials and it includes industrial packaging as well as primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging.” - change the way in which we package goods? Use biodegradable materials?
- Parallels between the North and South: “related to the current generation of disposal waste”
- Development of countries effects the quantities of waste, and how it is managed. LEDCs tend to have no official garbage collection, whereas MEDCs do.
- Over-consumption: buying more than necessary – this leads to more food waste- gets thrown out due to expiry date – may not necessarily be out of date though? A gimmick to get people to buy more goods?
“Under the global expansion of mass media and widely spreading capitalism, along with increased mobility of tourism, the disposable character of mass consumption has reached a global scale “
- Biodegradable waste? Reduce and Re-use
- Waste as a valuable commodity? – Organic waste: used for compost fertiliser – useful for farming
As we can see through the highlighting and notes from this piece of writing, over consumption is the driving force of waste. This is also leading to health problems.....
Use the risk of health problems as a consequence of waste to get the public's attention: If we talk about how it can effect our bodies, not just the environment, then maybe people will start to listen. I should perhaps try to start to tackle the issue from this end?
Do Ho Suh: Passages
Notes taken whilst exploring exhibition:
1) Do Ho Suh transforms the inorganic into the organic, through recreating and reinterpretation spaces using processes that involve softer materials. Hard industrial spaces are reinvented using visceral materials, which are woven and misshapen from the original form that they are interpreting. These inaccuracies provide the space and the objects with a completely different meaning. The reinterpretation of the space becomes ghostly, almost like a fading memory, due to faded elements getting lost into the background.
2) Multiple layers are used where different materials are threaded, causing a grater density in colour in some sections, demonstrating greater depth
3) i felt that my overall experience of walking through the passages was ruined by the great number of people that were exploring it with me. I was not able to experience the movement "between psychological states" through crossing each boundary, which was what the artist intended. I felt that the experience should be independent from other people, in order to feel a personal connection, and therefore for it to be successful, you would need to explore the "passages" independently.
1) the three screen room provides the audience with a 3D experience, as you are able to explore the Passages from a 270 degree viewpoint
2) Initially i found the children's voice irritating, but after watching for a long time, i started to find it endearing and humorous, as i could feel the bond between the artist and his daughter. The child also held up her toys to the camera whilst singing, making the experience feel very personal.
3) The artist explores the passages that are situated within the roads surrounding the gallery, alongside the roads within his home country. He intertwines the different spaces, to unite them as one.
4) The video demonstrated the contrast in cultures and architectural landscape. An obvious difference between the two, was the UK's abundance in plants
5) I briefly spotted his reflection in a car, where i could see a camera propped up on top of a pram. This was then later confirmed as he enters a lift where the mirror shows is reflection.
Overall, this exhibition had a long lasting impact on me. As i left, i started to notice the "passages" that surrounded me, forcing me to observe the streets in a new way. I started to take in all three camera shots around me, like what was shown in the video; left, right and centre.
After looking for imagery of plastic bags caught in trees, I came across an article that mentions "Plastic Trees" to be dying out. Here is an example of how little acts, such as the 5p rule, can make such a huge impact.
PLASTIC BAG TREES NOW ENDANGERED
Plastic bags fluttering in trees used to be a common sight throughout the urban avenues and rural hedgerows of Britain, but now the plastic bag tree is dying out. Even in Liverpool, where it once thrived amongst the indigenous litter lawns and polystyrene take-away container bushes, the future of the plastic bag tree is in doubt.
Critics claim that the primary reason for the decline is the 5p charge for plastic shopping bags introduced by the Government last year. It is claimed that this, in conjunction with the ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ initiative, has the potential to destroy the environment and eco-system in which the plastic bag tree formerly flourished.
But now a new organisation, Life For Bags, is attempting to save the species, as spokesman Leonard Mitchell, a Government lobbyist and carrier politician, explained. ‘We must not allow the great British institution that is the plastic bag tree to die out and be replaced with foreign imports,’ he said. ‘This is nothing but attempted murder and we are campaigning to reverse this Government’s brutal ‘Jute to Kill’ policy.’
'Plastic Trees' Grow Everywhere
Below is example of another artist who chooses to demonstrate the negative impact that we have on our planet, through documenting what is really there, but in a way that helps to demonstrate the scale of concern for the issues that we have presented for ourselves.
"Turning little bushes into big trees was to show the size of the problem"
"Portuguese photographer Eduardo Leal's series "Plastic Trees" is actually composed of little bushes, photographed from low angles to make them appear larger. "Turning little bushes into big trees was to show the size of the problem," the artist told CNN. Leal is a 2015 winner of LensCulture magazine's Earth Awards, which focuses on photography that documents the harmful effects of human activity on the natural environment.
Leal's stark images of plastic pollution clinging to bare branches at sunset are inadvertently beautiful. But the artist, in his statement, says he intended "Plastic Trees" to raise awareness of the fact the world consumes 1 million plastic bags every minute.
"The work focuses on the spread of plastic bags on the Bolivian Altiplano, where millions of bags travel with the wind until they get entangled in native bushes, marring the beautiful landscape. Sadly, these images don't portray an isolated case—this phenomenon can be seen in many countries all over the world.""
George Shaw: My Back To Nature
Shaw's paintings replicate the human disruption of a natural environment. The landscape is distressed by draped fabric and littered paper, leaving its mark of human presence and disturbance. I find it interesting how he chose to paint these images, rather than dress them up in real like and capture them itself. Painting requires time and patience, and here Shaw provides a softer tone through his paint than a photograph would. I think that this helps to make the images environment look more serene than damaging. Shaw's dark, morbid colour pallet helps to replicate the darkness of the problem that he is showing. The absence of any animals or people perhaps highlights the hostility of the situation, as it only reveals traces of life rather than life itself.
The Guardian Review:
"...he paints the woods on the outskirts as a scene of intense human drama. The moment has just passed, is just about to happen, or is happening even now even, though there is never anyone there. A mark on the ground, a tramping of leaves, the torn page of an old magazine: the woods are full of human traces. A striped mattress lolls in a clearing – the painting is titled The School of Love, after Correggio, who painted forest love, after all. A tree trunk drips with red paint: someone’s rage, someone’s private message.
The people have come and gone from this sylvan stage set, gods and goddesses falling in and out of love, rude mechanicals leaving crushed cans and old pin-ups behind. Shakespeare is somewhere in the wings. A painting of a dark cleft in a tree is called The Old Country, alluding to Hamlet, while in another part of the wood lies death...
...The show’s punning title, My Back to Nature, implies a narrative and there is an unfolding story in these images, accumulating like scenes set in the same glade. Sometimes it is wintry and stark, sometimes misty and autumnal, the air still, the mulch of leaves a dirty brown smear. The sky is a glow of dawn or dusk glimmering through the branches, or a dim downward light, or nothing but a pervasive greyness. One avowedly romantic sequence shows the variety of moods in one particular avenue of trees as the seasons pass: the ever-changing performance of nature."
Below are some videos that i have recorded. This is my own take on Shaw's "Back to Nature", as i have introduced foreign materials into a forest environment, where they cling to the branches of a tree. There is an ethereal quality to the movement of the garments, as they gently glide with the movement of the air. My initial intention was to create something that looked quite hostile, but in a menacing way. This was in some parts achieved, however the menacing quality was lost due to the lightness and fragility of the materials used. This does not necessarily mean that it was a failure however, as it still helps to replicate the vulnerability of our environment, which is something that i am trying to portray.
I used tissue paper in one shot, and plastic bags in the next.
Again the absence of human presence helps to replicate a hostile environment, where you hear the sounds of nature around the trees.
Plastic's impact on our sewers
Plastic Waste Clogging up our Sewers ....... "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
1) "Fatbergs" clump together, which can force sewage out into our streets
2) People are unaware of the implications of flushing things down the toilet that aren't just tissues and human waste, for example... wet wipes, cotton buds, condoms etc. These do not disintegrate like normal toilet paper and cause blockages
Two Years of Trash in a JAR
Wearing 30 days worth of Garbage
Cities, Consumption and Disposable Society
- Consumption "shapes urban development"
- Consumption = production + advertisement + transportation + commerce of products = Waste
- Cities are experiencing "health impacts" as a result of waste contaminating water, air and soil
"Through the increasing accumulation of solid waste, the social and environmental dimensions of these issues become visible"
Taking Inspiration from Natural Constructions:
The above images all take hold of an organic formation, featuring cocoons/nuts/fungus/pods. By looking at their appearance and construction, i am able to interpret this into my own work. My aim is to recreate something that looks organic, out of inorganic materials. I need to look at natural formations as a source of inspiration, in order to reconstruct something that looks realistic.
The main structures that i can implement from this imagery are:
- woven string/netting
- bulbous pods- blown up/air?
- folds of material
- clustered components
Work At CSM- Took on Cacoon structure.
Materials used? String/Paint/Plaster?
Viga Clemins, To Fix the Image in Memory 1977–82
Stones and painted bronze, eleven pairs
"For this work, Celmins made bronze casts of eleven rocks and then painted the casts to resemble the original stones as closely as possible. In an interview, she recalled, "I got the idea for this piece while walking in northern New Mexico picking up rocks, as people do. I'd bring them home and I kept the good ones. I noticed that I kept a lot that had galaxies on them. I carried them around in the trunk of my car. I put them on window sills. I lined them up. And, finally, they formed a set, a kind of constellation. I developed this desire to try and put them into an art context. Sort of mocking art in a way, but also to affirm the act of making: the act of looking and making as a primal act of art." By having each original rock installed with its duplicate, Celmins invites the viewer to examine them closely: "Part of the experience of exhibiting them together with the real stones," she has said, "was to create a challenge for your eyes. I wanted your eyes to open wider." " - MoMA
This process of recreating something as an exact replica fascinates me. It seems pointless to replicate a useless object, but by doing this, it has now become a thing of interest due to there only being two pieces of the exact shape that exist. It provides the pointless, mundane object, with a new uncanny value. Perhaps i could apply this methodology of re-creating something in order to elevate its meaning, to my own practise. For example, me recreating a tree log, out of cardboard however, gives it a new value in a different way, as it is not only through replication it gets a new meaning, but its the materials used that provide it with a new narrative.
"Ernesto Neto has produced an influential body of work that explores constructions of social space and the natural world by inviting physical interaction and sensory experience....the artist both references and incorporates organic shapes and materials – spices, spices, sand and shells among them—that engage all five senses, producing a new type of sensory perception that renegotiates boundaries between artwork and viewer, the organic and manmade, the natural, spiritual and social worlds." - Tanya Bonakadar Gallery
Neto's work has invited me to explore with not just with physical properties, but also sensory properties within my work. I have been finding objects that are mundane yet hugely present during my "everyday" life, such as tea, bin bags and socks. Netos work has inspired me to incorporate the tea in order to implement smell within my sculptural elements.
"Ernesto Neto's iconic sculptural installation, Flying Gloup Nave (Nave Voadora), a gauzy, biomorphic installation made from nylon stocking, styrofoam beads and sand, functions as a vast, suspended enclosure that serves as both sculpture and architecture. The womb-like shape is suggestive of the hull of a ship or a living organism, while the title refers to both the nave of a cathedral, and a word that means "ship" or "capsule" in Portuguese. " - Tanya Bonakadar Gallery
"Interested in the visual arts, dance, body mechanics and matters of the spirit from an early age these elements still play themselves out in ever changing ways in her art. She has always used a variety of natural (sand, dirt, rocks, seed pods) and unconventional (panty hose, found objects, masking tape) materials to fashion her works, utilizing these materials as a jazz musician utilizes notes and sounds to improvise a composition. The thrust of her art is to share common experiences in abstractions that hit the senses and center, often welcoming the viewer to become a participant. " - SengaSenga
Nengudi combines both dance and sculpture in order to create an abstract performance.
"Lucas’s materials – furniture, clothing, food – are sculptural and associative. Nylon tights provide a useful casing: stuffed with wadding they become splayed limbs of female bodies. Tights are alsointimate, erotic, yet cheap and disposable, both glamorous and abject. Lucas’s objects also draw on art history; her frequent use of toilet bowls recalls Duchamp’s urinal, the first ready-made. " - Whitechapel Gallery
To me, Lucas' piece is far more suggestive than just female breasts. The clusters of irregular bulbous shapes remind me of something that is far more invasive and threatening due to its organically erratic composition. Cancerous tumours and growths come to my attention. This is partly due to their appearance not being exactly true to a woman's breast. It leads us to ask further questions as to what they truly represent.
After reading chapter 2 of Gutberlet's "Recovering Resources" (2008), the effect of waste on our bodies and health has been brought to my attention. He claims at cities are experiencing "health impacts" as a result of waste contaminating water, air and soil. Health issues associated with waste pollution, can lead to a degradation in air quality, which could be cancerous.
YAYOI KUSAMA, ACCUMULATION
Here Kusama's piece holds clusters of varied organic growths, sprouting out of the chair with different sizes at different angles. They look as though they are taking over and invading the chair, swallowing it up within their own mass. This reminds me the behaviour of tumours; unwelcome, unpleasant, hazardous cells, that build over time and cause destruction along their way.
The appearance is unsettling overall, and i feel this helps it to be extremely successful as a piece. It falls within the themes of my "everyday" project, very well, and takes a similar form to the objects i made form tights and bin bags. This piece will help me to take my work a step further, by looking at the arrangement and composition of the shapes. Perhaps i should also introduce my objects within an environment that will make it look as though it is invading its space, and effectively taking over the objects within it.
The effect on our bodies...
This theme of "waste" from the everyday as a result of our new consumerist lifestyles led me to explore how this has had an effect on our bodies. Our health is depleting as we are exposed to fatty fast foods and pollutants, but also from us consuming animals which are now consuming plastic waste that we leave in our oceans. This has drawn my focus towards the body and its dysfunctional traits.
The works that i have been researching physically allude to the impurities and bodily dysfunctions that people are starting to develop. New illnesses are developing such as obesity, type two diabetes as well as cancers. The physicality of these works give the impression of cell mutations and tumorous growths, due to their organic compositions of irregular shapes and sporadic arrangements.
Through experimentation of my "waste" materials, i have been creating organic compositions which heavily resemble these illnesses.
My Own Research of Materials
Here i have gathered materials that both resemble waste and skin, and tried to collaborate them in a way to take on an organic shape and appearance.
I initially bundled plastic bags together filled with air, and realised they made crease-like wrinkles that looked similar to the cracks in skin. However, due to their colour, their resemblance to skin was lost. Under the inspiration of the artists mentioned above, Sarah Lucas and Senga Nengudi, i thought that by introducing tights it could help me to reinforce the organic aesthetic.
I then introduced light, and this introduced an entirely different element. The creases are then exposed, and closely resemble something far more internal than wrinkles. They look like veins and perhaps even the contents of an egg membrane that is developing and ready to hatch. This is somewhat disturbing, as it closely resembles elements that we are familiar with, even though made up of completely different components. I think that by the material process being entirely different to what it visually portrays, the work becomes far more thought provoking.
MIERLE LADERMAN UKELES: MAINTENANCE ART WORKS 1969–1980
(Yellow highlighter was not picked up on scanner)
Gagosian Gallery - Richard Serra
My Mother's Daughter
The Free Space Gallery
Experiencing Tendero's collection of works, reflecting on her inherited genetic disorder, became far more of a reality when viewing them within a hospital. Being situated within that environment, were patients are being wheeled around, and disinfectants and needles are within metres of the works, really helps to elevate their sense of purpose. It helped me as a viewer to further connect with the artist, and really sympathise for her and her mother due to their condition.
This was the first time i had experienced an exhibition within a hospital, and i never knew it was really possible to do so until today. I did however feel, that it may have taken away from the quality of the works. I feel as though when art work is presented within the white cube, the environment should be clean with no distractions from the white walls, but the art itself. Due to the work having being exhibited within the hospital corridors, I felt as though it let it down a bit.
In terms of the materials used and the context of which they are situated in, relate well with what i am currently looking at. Tendero used tights to help replicate skin, and string to replicate body parts. Unfortunately the photograph advertised was not displayed, and this was what initially drew me towards the exhibition. Tendero has however inspired me to explore further with making bodily connects with relation to the materials that i am working with, in terms of replication. She used string a lot within the works, and although i would like to explore with this, i feel as though this would take away from the point of it being Waste. I feel that it is important to incorporate bits of rubbish within my sculptures, otherwise it may pull away from the theme too much of which my main focus is on.
untitled: dock: emptystaircasehoarding,
Timber, paint, plywood
900 x 400 x 1000 cm
Bonding plaster, cement, cord, PVA, paint, paper, pigment, polystyrene, polyurethane foam, spray paint, steel, wire mesh
192 x 300 x 110 cm
2017, Phyllida Barlow, PRESS - 10 March, Financial Times
Notes from Barlow's FT article:
- Barlow says, "There is a sort of toxic mix right now" - resulting from the evolution of technology and communication, through Facebook, Instagram. This has given a collective will to people with no interest in maintaining the old order. Barlow has witnessed much of this evolution, now 72.
- Barlow works with lowly materials - Fabric Scraps/Cement/Plywood/Plaster/House Paint/Hessian - Could consider these to be WASTE materials? Unconventional / Used in the EVERYDAY
- Figures are CLUMSY / ASYMMETRICAL / AWKWARD - Refuse to obey orthodox discipline
I can employ the vocabulary from this article to my own works, as the appearance of Barlow's pieces hold the same qualities that I am aiming for mine to achieve. She uses unconventional materials like me, and rearranges them in a way to replicate something that is new and unimaginable, with the resemblance of something else that already exists, but we cant quite define what. This makes it interesting, and leaves the viewer feeling uneasy and intrigued.
Fungus on Trees:
By observing the way in which mushrooms and fungus hold themselves on the trunk of a tree, i have been inspired to replicate this using my own inorganic "fungus". I feel as though it is important for me to see the real thing, in order to my representation to be realistic at all. The colouring of the fungus is like that on my sculpture, and it consists of random clusters with various folds and layers. The excess tights material of my own sculpture can help to replicate this effect.
any of a group of unicellular, multicellular, or syncytial spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, including moulds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools."truffles are fungi but not mushrooms"
The contents -
Experimentation with materials has led me to incorporate different objects, not just plastic bags. I have found rubbish around my bedroom to incorporate into my sculpture, and this is to show the vast range and quantities that we independently produce. It ranges to plastic bags, to tissue paper, all sourced from packaging. In order to combat the problems with waste, i believe that we should change our materials that we use to package goods, not just adjust the way in which we dispose of them.
Changing Environments -
I have been experimenting with photographing my sculptures within different locations. Their aim is to behave as a foreign object, that causes disturbance within a normal environment. Photographing it in trees, portrays itself as a fungus. Photographing it within a household environment, looks to be something of far more concern. Its undefined presence can leave you feeling uneasy.
The way in which this sculpture holds itself acts as vines, clinging onto and growing across objects, acting as an infestation. This is in order to resemble the prevailing quantities of waste that are being produced all over the world, to the extent of being unmanageable.
I have achieved this vine like effect by tying individual pods to string, allowing the excess material to drape down in a leaf like fashion.
By introducing the sculpture on a body, it gets reinterpreted in terms of our physical health. As they blend in with and lie on bare skin, they behave as a foreign species to the body; cancers, tumours, growths. My aim is to demonstrate the impact that waste is having on the environment and our planet for the long term, but also the concerning impact it has to to us and our bodies. I feel as though by introducing bodies to the sculpture, this can be successfully portrayed through art.
Ariaan Art Gallery - LIGHT DEEP GREEN
I stumbled across this gallery when trying to find another down the road, and this was extremely fortunate as the sculptures inside purely resembled what my project is all about; WASTE.
The artist had made bottle ends out of plastic, and filled them with paint markings that resembled left over food, used cutlery and utensils, as well as a miniature skip with a boot hanging out. Although the themes are highly relevant to my work, i did not actually like the aesthetic of the pieces being shown to me. I felt that the artist's use of bright colours made it almost look rather tacky, and the paint itself did not actually look like food at all, but paint. So overall its presentation felt...scrappy? However this may have been intentional by the artist due to the fact it is indeed scraps, but this was not to my taste.
I felt the same about his paintings as i did with the sculptures, as he used vulgar colours which were too bright and quite sickening, in collaboration with actual plastic containers that he just smothered in paint. The work was about the feeling of gluttony and the consequences of this, and i do feel that this was achieved through the choice of colour and materials.
My impression of this exhibition; What a load of BS!!!!
After reading the press release i was excited to see how Kolakis would display this displaced perception of space, however i was just placed face to face with rather mundane objects that really seemed to just be plonked there into the gallery, and because of this gained the title of "ART".
Here are a few examples of what i saw:
Quite literally; a folded blanket, a stack of chairs, and a painted cardboard box. I felt as though if these objects were removed, i could then begin to take this exhibition seriously, but because of this it felt to be a let down.
I did however appreciate the use of materials, and their arrangement in a way to help present a sense of abstract space, one which was distorted and the mind could not make sense of. A viewer was able to explore one of the pieces, by walking between the rods held between the ceiling and floor, and i felt that this sense of interaction could be exciting, it just needed far more to fill the space in order to distort it.
Due to my visit to this gallery only lasting about 7 mintues, i was able to explore around the area using the ArtRabbit app, so for this i am grateful Valerie!
Test next to Real Photograph using Model:
I have found a space in the King's Cross building that provides enough light and has a white wall where i can photograph my piece on. This is at the top of the building directly under the sunroof which is hugely fortunate, as i do not have access to a studio with lights. I personally feel that natural light works best when trying to capture an image, so this is potentially an even better solution. However, i will not have control of the weather and the lighting, and will have to use the space during a certain time of day where the area receives maximum sunlight.
By photographing my object on someone other than myself, i have the opportunity to manipulate the way in which it falls on the body. Lucy makes the perfect model for my piece, as her fair complexion of blonde hair and light skin blends very well with the colours. This allows the piece to mould well with her body, and feels to be part of it. As this was only a test, my model was wearing her trousers, but ideally she would be in just nude pants. This will help her body look fragile and vulnerable towards the growth-like sculpture, giving the impression of an invasion or takeover of disease.
For the actual photographs that i am going to display, I will take more care in the way that i position the pieces on her body. I will need to disguise the white string beneath the tights so that it looks entirely organic. I am pleased that i left the excess tights material on the object, as it flows down like skin-like strands, helping to further blend the piece into her body, and this will also help to disguise the white strings.
The image on the left is before i tied the excess material, and the image on the right is after. There is a dramatic difference in the shape and the way the piece clings to the body, giving the desired clustered effect. After trying many methods of fastening the excess material, using a variety of tapes, i have found that knotting the material itself around each cluster lasts much longer and is more reliable than just the tape. The image on the left i will potentially display in the exhibition alongside the sculpture itself, but i will have to edit it first when i get a chance to at Kings Cross.
I also used a Canon camera instead of my iPhone to photograph the image, and this provided a much softer effect. I prefer the overall quality and gradient of the Canon shot images.
“No Man's Land,” a work by the French artist Christian Boltanski, installed at the Park Avenue Armory. The project uses 30 tons of used clothing and 3,000 stacked cookie tins.
Introducing a piling effect helps to replicate this idea of MASS. It demonstrates vast quantities, and for my project, this helps to get across the message that we are producing too much rubbish which is just getting piled on top of one another. Although the concept is not necessarily the same as mine (touches on life and death), i can still employ this method to my own work.
Learning from Other Pieces to help Construct my Own
The image to the left is by an artist called Natsuko Hattori, and it is called "My Partner". (2012, Fabric and Cotton, 22 x 47 inches). I found this image 2 days in of constructing my own work, and feel as though i can really learn from the way in which this artist has constructed their own sculpture, to help improve mine. One of the main differences is their base, as it is much larger and wider throughout, where as mine becomes narrower much more rapidly. I wanted my piece to both consist of the "growth" like effect, as well as the "dumping" effect, and this is being achieved through the stem snaking up the wall, as well as there being a wider base. Unlike mine, Hattori's piece is not attached to the wall, and instead consists of a much greater "pile up" than mine, however it still has the element of growth through the individual components that it is made up from. Its shape also takes on an asymmetrical form, with a greater range of size in individual components to mine.
I do feel that due to space restrictions, i would not have been able to achieve the same wide base and narrow top, as i dont have access to as much floor in ratio to wall space. If i were to keep it in the same ratio as Hattori in terms of height and width, the overall composition would have come up a lot shorter, and i think that this would have lost the "growth" effect.
However, i do feel that if i had found this image earlier, the construction of my piece would be quite different.
what makes Hattori's piece successful:
- Huge range in component sizes
- retains organic quality due to components all being erratic in shape and placement
- wide base -very narrow top
- variety in colour, although basis of cherry red is still maintained
What can i do to change mine to improve it????????
- widen the lower half more?
- sprawl out towards the floor more?
- have larger pieces?
- create more asymmetry ?
" Fabric is my medium of choice because people everywhere can relate more easily to this material, which conveys warmth, natural softness and the intimate human touch. The act of wrapping is central to my sculptures.
My sculptures are created from balls that are individually wrapped with fabric and bounded together to make up an entire whole. Each ball represents the inner state of mankind. The gesture of wrapping each round ball, is an act of transformation that converts pain, sadness and despair into positive energy, such as love or a prayer for comfort.
My work conveys a sense of happiness and celebrates the human spirit. " - Natsuko Hattori