Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sophie Hood: Plastic Bag Beginnings

I've decided to work with plastic bags. I've worked with them before, and I just think that they can be a very dynamic material that also takes into account many issues concerning the environment and our influence on the world. Briefly about plastic bags from an environmental stand point:

Plastic Bags:
- cause pollution, kill animals, use up limited resources (petroleum)
- 100 billion plastic bags are used each year in the US - add to that the rest of the world....
- litter the landscape
- kill animals - animals mistake them for food - even after the animal dies, the bag remains..disturbing image
- are non-biodegradable - plastic bags stay 'alive' for 1,000 years.
- petroleum is required to make them

For more info:

So here is some of my brainstorming:

- using plastic bags to ‘create’ creatures that have their own ecosystem – that fits into ours or doesn't.

- using waste plastic to create something new

- plastic bags into living creatures

- waste into ‘art’ – cheap art (thank you Bread and Puppet Theater!), recycled art

Thus, I'm thinking about creating plastic bag creatures. They have their own story, their own purpose. It's interesting and fun to figure out how this imaginary race works - if plastic bags are such an important part of our world, be it negative or positive, how would they fit/behave as a species? What is this connection between humans, waste, the world - how we all fit into the complex web. There is something very interesting about creating art out of waste and seeing the interactions and the questions that are brought up.

The plastic bag culture: This is an endearing culture – it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. They are almost immortal in the eyes of humans. They are like an ancient race. They are like trees and stones. They move slowly, they age slowly. They are slow. They are always walking, walking forward, but to where? No features, just shape. Movement. A feeling.

I am definitely thinking about a performance piece. It is important that these creatures become 'real.'

Here is a quick mock up of a plastic bag creature and a drawing: The creature is made from ironed plastic bags, cut into strips and sewn/glued together.