Refuse Refuse

Second Life: Runner Up
Port Moody Wearable Art Awards 2013


Photo above by Darla Furlani
Link to the original image on the Port Moody Wearable Art Website.

View images of the 2013 Port Moody Wearable Art Awards, including Refuse Refuse,
on the Pedersson Storyteller Photograpy blog collage.

Refuse: verb. Indicate or show that one is not willing to do something.

refuse refuse 2

Refuse: noun. Matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash.

refuse refuse 3

Materials: polythene plastics, plastic bags, plastic bottles and other found plastics

Artist Statement:
Plastic has been called the lubricant of globalization because it’s a vapor and moisture barrier that enables the safe shipment of products around the globe. It is these very same qualities that make it virtually indestructible. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades. Ultraviolet rays from the sun brittle it, cracking it and breaking it into little chips, these individual polymers, or micro plastics, are then ingested by marine life from the smallest feeder up the food chain. Some scientists upon analysis have found more plastic than plankton in some oceanic areas, some say a ratio of 6:1 and others have claimed 40:1 and ever increasing. In and around the garbage gyres, the most publicized being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, there are exceptionally high concentrations of plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by ocean currents. It doesn’t present as the mythical island dump floating on the ocean, rather there are tiny pieces of polymer everywhere, thinly distributed, and extremely impractical to clean up. There are high concentrations of toxins in plastics. It is not hard to believe with the ubiquitousness of plastic, that every currently living creature inhabiting this earth has plastic chemicals in their bodies. We have all heard the reports of plastic toxins leaching from containers into food and affecting human hormone levels and animals dissected after death revealing stomachs clogged with plastic parts.

I am not a plastics expert, but I am aware that practically every product I buy comes wrapped in plastic. Making these garments has not only become a method of recycling plastic waste, but it is also a medium through which to draw attention to the issue of a land and waterscape that is becoming increasingly choked with non-biodegradable consumer wastes. This act of creation is a resistance to globally based industries of waste and a consumer lifestyle that is threatening natural ecosystems and people’s ability to live in harmony with their environment. The inspiration is simultaneously drawn from nature itself and is influenced by the appearance of organic matter, such as the movement qualities of a jellyfish. The polythene plastics have been ripped and pulled to float through the air as if through water. Simultaneously, I looked to the nature of the material itself for inspiration, incorporating the longevity and durability of plastic by enhancing it with construction techniques such as weaving and tying. Aesthetically I am drawn to juxtapositions and opposing tensions. When Michael J.P. Hall approached me with the concept of working with plastics, which upon first appearance presents as organic, I was intrigued. There is an inherent ugliness in the plastic problem. With human adaptability and the drive to survive and thrive, might we find solutions to a disposable synthetic culture through a creative envisioning of our future? A look at a culture wrapped in plastic is a call to reconnect with the natural ecosystem of which we are a part.

note: photos edited by Nita Bowerman

note: photos edited by Nita Bowerman

These garments have been commissioned by Michael J.P. Hall of FRAMWERK PHOTOGRAPHY + DESIGN for a photo series entitled Entanglement.  Entanglement is a series of large-format photographs that speak to the intertwined relationship between human life and waste.  Link to my Entanglement webpage here.

There are deadly consequences that result from a disposable culture dependent on plastic.

I have no affiliation with the following artists and activists, I do, however, believe that their work is important and it that deserves to be deeply considered and shared.

Midway – a film by Chris Jordan

Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic: Ted Talks