Most of us are familiar with the island of floating waste best known as the Pacific Trash Vortex. Despite the palpable image this name inspires, it easily becomes abstract in our day-to-day lives. The Texas sized island of waste floats out of sight, something so far out of our control and so massive that we feel as though we have little to no effect on it. Wasteland aims to trap the audience inside of a conceptualized world that appears both organic and hostile.
The objective of this installation is to create a connection between the audience and the very real accumulated waste that they produce. The room is intended to appear beautiful at first, but to later reveal its dark reality. Ocean pollution is moved to a bodily scale, invoking suffocation and entangling the visitor as they unintentionally have an effect on the both physical and metaphorical space around them.
Wasteland hosts an ecosystem created from reused material and upcycled waste. The environment of the room is intended to trap the visitor and to respond to their movements within the space. In such a way, Wasteland reminds us of the effect that even our smallest movements have on our environment. Wasteland is an active space; it is intended to evolve with each experience inside of it. As the audience and myself contribute to make it more comforting, it only continues to grow, to entangle, and to reveal the grim reality behind it.
Living in New York, one can easily visualize the concept of drowning in waste; with the constant inflow of packages, food delivery and the accumulation of art supplies, every corner of my small apartment seems to be full of scrap canvases, old plastic bags, unused chopsticks and more. For two months, I became a collector of waste, saving the Styrofoam, plastic and textile materials that came in to my life momentarily just to immediately become waste.
In many ways, the viewer sees Wasteland through the eyes of a mermaid. In this underwater home, trash invades the space while simultaneously being welcomed, idealized and naïvely revalued. The room reimagines the waste island on a human scale, referencing bodily forms as a result of worn material and scale. The concept of clothing the body in chokeable waste again reminds the audience of the morbid reality behind Wasteland. This seemingly livable space becomes immediately unwelcoming as the visitor moves through it.
Wasteland immerses the consumer in the suffocating environment that we have created. The wearing of and entanglement in waste proves the physical effect that our bodies have in the space. We are trapped within a very real, manmade reality.
Re-installing Wasteland in Harlem with J Jacobs Collective.