Twenty-foot plastic bottles sculptures have made its way around Los Angeles, showing us exactly what we throw away by the millions of tons in a year. Artists Cruder & LaPenta are playfully changing the ways in which we view our most destructively disposable man-made resource. Inescapably recalling Oldenburg’s larger-than-life sculptures of everyday objects, Natural Plasticity certainly reflects a fetishizing of convenience borne from a consumer culture that single-use plastic has, in part, integrated into our lives since its invention in the 1940’s.
A scary thought: the average plastic bottle takes 450 years to biodegrade. So every bit of it that has ever been made is still in existence, threatening our oceans, our wildlife, our Home. It’s a lot to digest in a real context. Think about how much plastic you’re surrounded by this very moment, how much of it you may have already discarded today. But unlike many environmental messages, Natural Plasticity isn’t aimed to guilt trip you. It’s simply geared to change your perspective.
Cruder & LaPenta, in collaboration with LA’s Parks and Rec and as part of World Art Vision for Environmental Sustainability (W.A.V.E.S.) from NOWart, have sent their enormous inflatable plastic bottles on a path from land to ocean, mimicking its “natural” descension into our environment. From its inauguration at Pershing Square in March, Natural Plasticity will make its way to the Two Harbors Music Festival on Catalina Island in October.
Seeing enormous plastic bottles purposefully placed to “Ruin Views,” viewers approach it with curiosity, as it was meant to invoke. For any real change to take hold on a global scale, the individual first needs to reflect on how much damage just one person can do. When faced with a giant, plastic bottle, you wonder how much of that was created just by you and what you discard. And maybe that leads to a conversation about waste and that leads to being more conscious about buying plastic and to corporations catching on and evolving new ways to meet our needs through our newfound disregard for plastic goods. And the Earth can finally begin to heal. And if not, it still makes you think.
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