Folks, this is about my "consumption" of plastic over the next year. I'm looking at what I have, what I buy, and why I seem to need this hundred and fifty year old man-made concoction more than my mother's fried chicken.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week 18: Plastic is Beautiful

Coffee cup clouds, Mylar mushroom colonies, sweater button stalagmites, plastic cup landscapes, scotch tape tapestries & soda straw walls. No, no, I am not collaborating on a new song with Beck...I went to the ICA last Friday.

It was the last weekend of the Tara Donovan exhibition. Although I was not allowed to touch any of her work, it touched me. I like to think that's why the no-touch rule exists at art museums. I'm just so tactile and art museums challenge me to fine-tune my other senses. This exhibition just shut my mouth. I love the things in this world that silence me. Sunsets, scuba diving, "Shenandoah" sung by Charlie Haden, and homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting are just a few of those silencers. I think Tara Donovan's imagination just made the list.

Some of the installations played with sound. The labyrinth wall of transparency sheets actually carried your voice from one side of the art to the other. The drinking straws literally sucked up the sound in the room.

I was with 4 other people and we each quickly went our own way as if in a dream. I had these moments when I forgot I was with anyone because I was so lost in my own thought squat, asking, how many plastic cups did it take to create this? Did she buy them? Does she reuse them when it is broken down? Were they donated? How many of these has she installed? What could she create with my year of plastic? How many buttons? How many miles of scotch tape? How many drinking straws?

During my reverent wanderings, I received a message from the styrofoam coffee clouds...
Look for the beauty...even in the mundane and industrial. Look for thoughtful design and get excited about it, even if it (and because it) IS in the process. Despair with the intention of coming from it with a new sense of purpose, understanding, and compassion for what others (myself included) are learning. If another human being can ignite an awestruck smile through drinking straws, the possibilities for creating beauty through the use and renewal of natural materials are endless...
"The material transcends what I do to it and becomes something else."
Tara Donovan, ICA exibit video, 2008

front-lit packed transparency sheet-like material

back-lit transparencies catching a glimpse of someone's purple shirt on the other side.

Me & Josh with clouds-in-my-coffee cups

Mylar mushrooms...I felt like Alice in Wonderland

Sasha standing in front of the wall of plastic drinking straws...

Check out photos from Ace Gallery...


beyesn said...

TD's stuff is really cool! Hey and the folks at "SPI" like her too ( Common ground? You should comment once in a while over on that blog. Engage! :)

Aimee said...

Absolutely beautiful photos. I wish I'd gotten over there to see that exhibit!

Sunnye said...

Hey B--I just posted a comment. : )

beyesn said...

I see! Interesting name you used --is that supposed to be my "Bizarro World" self!?

Did you watch the video over there about the bike made of Mountain Dew bottles?