Monday, July 9, 2012

Planetary Housekeeping

Sometimes beauty can be a call to action. Here, the call to action is to follow some simple rules of planetary housekeeping, but in a larger sense the call to action is to follow the strange voices of inspiration, of compulsion, for the real opposite of beauty is indifference.

Over the years, with the keen eyes of avid connoisseurs, we have established several easy-to-identify categories of recycled materials: juice lids, hair curlers and combs, toy soldiers, Tiparillo tips, toothpaste tube caps to name a few. The sheer number of items we have collected from a one beach reflects the magnitude of what is happening worldwide in the oceans and on the beaches. Our beach, Kehoe Beach, is not extraordinary in the amount of plastic we find.

What started out as an act of "planetary housekeeping" has turned into an immediate and compelling source of free art supplies. From our “inventory” we have made hundreds of two-dimensional artworks and functional sculptures—even Judith’s wedding dress was fashioned entirely from thrown away materials.

Each little piece of trash has a story to tell in its connection to human life. One can tell the story of a culture obsessed by convenience. Another, the hand from a Barbie doll, opens to tell us about our fetish for a certain body type. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are presented as objects of desire.

When introduced in the Thirties, plastic was touted as an exciting new material that would revolutionize our lives and indeed, it has- providing new hips and knees, allowing for unbelievable medical advances and it has inundated our lives. In the daily swirl of debris, from food shopping to consumer goods, plastic is the unseen background of daily living.

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