The past month I’ve been in residency at Governor’s Island, a 172 acre island in New York harbor, with Works on Water and Underwater New York, two organizations who focus on water as a point of departure to further examine ecological change and the city respectively. Continuing my work with plastic bags, my objective was to create a glacier-like structure out of bags and begin to develop ideas for the performance piece the glacier will be featured in, We Are Drowning. What I landed on surprised me, opening new pathways.
Working in a house once home to military officers, I set up shop by hanging some open ended questions I’ve been asking as a departure point for this work in the space. Questions about consumption habits: What’s convenient? Who decides? What needs to happen for things to change? I decided to make these out of plastic bags, using lettering on the bags. This turned into a mini-installation and prompted me to ask more questions. How much is enough? What’s important? What’s the price? Who pays? I also began to think about how the striking data I’ve encountered could be represented, 1 trillion bags discarded annually, and misconceptions, the bags collected in recycling bins in stores aren’t recycled, they go to a landfill. This led to the creation of a visual piece incorporating the symbol typically associated with recycling and the words “Please reuse or recycle at a participating store” that are printed on many bags which, like the collection containers, misleads us to believe that they are being recycled, thus perpetuating their use.
Concurrently, I was working on three prototypes for the glacier, each with a different aesthetic, polling people who came into the studio which of the three resonated most with them; the craggiest rough and tumble version that took the least amount of time to make was the favorite. This prototype will be expanded for the performance work.
I think a lot about what surrounds a performance. What are the pathways in, interactions and experiences around it that connect and further the ideas in the work. What was created on Governor’s Island, I realize, does just this and I envision will be part of a lobby installation accompanying We Are Drowning. The creative road is a winding path and many times you don’t know where you’ll end up.