What is this a photo of? The simple answer is that it is a combination of dried flowers and discarded plastic packaging. The truthful answer is that it represents my vision of a shared future best avoided. I will explain. It seemed to me, after I had spent more than two years reconstructing many different organic objects, dried, withered, whatever, that I had been missing the obvious and most distressing part of the project: discarded plastic! I had collected all manner of flower, fruit and fungi, but there was more. If you have been following me for a while, then you might already know that when I embarked on the project now called “Conversations With Nature” my challenge to answer was “How would nature look if we tried to put it back together after destroying it for our own purposes? If the natural world outside our cities died, could we make those spaces beautiful again? What might that beauty look like?” My experiment was symbolic and the forms I created are only a representation of a possible answer. It was a mind bending project. Sometimes I felt as though I had taken on a serious science fiction experiment and I limited myself to using only the materials I found, adding nothing, not even glue. The process was challenging and the outcomes were fascinating. But when I began, I didn’t know how ineffective our recycling program is. I didn’t know what microplastics are. Now I do, and so I looked in my own garbage bin and of course there was a colourful, strong small plastic package, not recyclable, recently discarded. I thought about it. If we were forced to include our own discarded plastic in our recreation of nature, we might have this very item. Someone designed it to be appealing in the first place, and so why not use it as the basis for a beautiful ‘flower’ bouquet? And so I did. It was agonizingly frustrating trying to marry plastic with organic materials (they do not ‘want’ to stick to each other), but eventually I did it, and so here I present to you, “End of Summer Sale!” This is the item I choose, as theoretical future shop-keeper, to put out on the sidewalk to catch your eye on the day that you want to bring some natural beauty back home for a cheerful display.
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