Photo by Ted Weber
As part of AQUA WEEK's awareness campaign, Ringling 10:10 has done its first artistic manifestation on campus. With the support of the Student Government of Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) and New College of Florida, their students have collaborated with us in the collection of water bottles consumed on campus for an entire month. We collected about 1,900 plastic bottles, including other bottled products (soft drinks, juices, iced tea, etc.). The idea was to show the impact such a simple product makes in when produced and consumed in a careless and oblivious way. On the night of October 9, 10:10 pm, Ringling students gathered around the main courtyard, with a dozen oversized trash bags filled with bottles and looked around them to see where they could set them up to cause the first impression of this project. So we start in the heart of our campus, in front of the main entrance of the north portion of the campus, in front of the student center, library and the president's office buildings. So this is how it started:
|Photo by Ted Weber|
Stage 1: settlement On the first night, the bottles were settled around the bed that surrounds one of the main sculptures in our campus, called "Portals to Everywhere". Our idea was to create a dialogue with the sculpture and our interpretation of it. The idea of portals to everywhere, the thinking that we can explore all things and ideas for the sake of it, was the predominant way of thinking in the past couple of decades. Our statement was: this is what your way of thinking has brought us. Exploring ideas such as manufactured demand, agreements of water ownership, and oh, water bottles! This inconsequential mentality is very profit oriented, it generated incredible amounts of unnecessary waste of all kinds. The irresponsible use of our resources impacted our environment in a way most of our ancestors would probably have never anticipated.
Photo by Elo Catalan
Stage 2: invasion Our first installation was popular among many students and faculty, but not very well received by our administration. It was considered disrespectful towards the artist of that sculpture, so we were mandated to remove the bottles immediately. So on the night of October 10 we literary removed them from the bed and threw them on the ground. We started stringing them together with nylon thread in order to keep them together as a mass and preventing them from spreading all over. This stage was called invasion for symbolizing our awareness campaign, removing the bottles from its confined space, to where it actually interfere with our pathways, becoming an inconvenience, as it is for millions of people on the other side of the planet, where plastic waste is disposed. One of the purposes of the project is to make students face the fact that once you get rid of a plastic bottle, they do not magically disappear, they go to places usually far from you, and that does not really allow us to see the accumulation of waste we produce on a daily basis, which is one of the most problematic things about our "trash": we are not aware of it.
Photo by Ted Weber
Stage 3: drift This stage is a reference to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, aka Plastic Island, a gigantic floating mass of plastic in the middle of the Pacific ocean, which is essentially the concentration of waste that is not disposed properly, that is mainly composed out of the number one residential pollutant from America: plastic bottles! On the night of October 11 we stringed about 300 bottles together to create this piece. We moved the bottles into a shape that was split into two major concentration of bottles. The entire shape was very fluid and reminded the movement of oil on water in movement. Its lower part was shaped as a water droplet, flowing into a narrow streamline of the bottom of the second concentration of what seemed like a mass of plastic climbing over the trunk of a tree. It showed the presence of our waste in opposition to the manicured lawns of our campus, almost a man vs nature statement, showing how plastic waste impacts nature, except that this environment is entirely anthropogenic. Therefore it is an anthropogenic intervention on an anthropogenic environment, once again, trying to get people to think: what is this doing here?
Photo by Ted Weber
Stage 4: inertia Taking the same idea of bottles consuming a tree, pollution impacting nature. This time the bottles were purposefully scattered to create more visual pollution, drawing more attention to it before the audience gets too comfortable with the bottles' presence on campus. The inertia aspect of it is referring to the mindless habit of purchasing bottled products. It is associated with the comfort and instant gratification. They are accessible and apparently cheap. But that's a mistake. With the research on the documentary TAPPED, we learned that water bottles are not only unsafe for your health, but also costs 2,000 times more than tapped water.
Photo by Ted Weber
Stage 5: deterioration And here we arrive to our last stage, the one that justifies the installation's tittle: ONE DROP. Inspired by the One Drop Foundation, this drop shaped object hanging from an oak tree is meant to symbolize the drop of consciousness that we tried to raise with our campaign, trying to make people ask themselves whether or not they really needed plastic bottles. People lived for thousands of years without them, and they made it through just fine. Read our declaration to understand how bad water bottles really are. We ask you to support us by signing our petition and make our efforts validated :]