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Omega

Omega

Worldwide, human beings are buying 20,000 plastic bottles of water per second. Like so many things today, the action of purchasing this object is a flabby reflex, born from cultural laziness and an un-checked allegiance to the marketed facade of “convenience.”

Our baseline has shifted. We have forgotten the foresight of only a few generations ago, when leaving the house meant either waiting for water, drinking it from a fountain or restaurant, or carrying your own vessel -- filled from the tap. Today, the ubiquity of plastic is like a network of sinuous tendons that has woven itself into everything, hiding in plain sight.

Omega wedges itself between individual culpability and abstract statistics. A journey through the numbers must be made -- a veritable barefoot walk into the heart of darkness. I ask each viewer to relinquish not only their shoes and socks, but also their phones. Without the hindrance of technology, one can be fully present.

If one pellet equals one bottle, I request that the viewer carry two tablespoons of pellets, equal to what the average American man, woman and child consumes in one year. Unfortunately, less than half of all bottles are recycled. 

Omega sits in an ocean of 3.2 tons of pellets. The moment you set foot in the pellets, it represents all of the global bottle purchases that will be made in the next 73 minutes.

 

About the Project

 

Omega was made in collaboration with Hi-Tec Plastics in Aurora, CO. Hi-Tec is the only plastic recycling plant in Colorado that produces a product -- pellets, tubing or piping. Many other recyclers collect, sort, and then either resell/dispose of plastics (landfills, incineration, shipped overseas).

To create Omega, Hi-Tec donated 3.2 tons of pellets, as well as extruded purged HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) for the sculpture’s scaffolding and floor ribbons. Hi-Tec’s knowledgeable staff also fitted a specially made dye to their machine so that we could pour melted HDPE into my high-temperature molds, producing twenty thicker recycled wings.

Alpha contains the waste products created during the production of Omega. Sorted, layered and stacked inside a museum vitrine, the collective material weighs 150 pounds. It was important to show the massive amounts of material that normally would be discarded into the dumpster. As an artist commenting on the environment, I believe it is important to implicate my own contribution to global waste in my work. I practice this kind of honest self-disclosure with the intention of inspiring transparency in others. Honest appraisal of individual actions is needed before solutions can be implemented.

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Detail of Omega

Detail of Omega

Omega contains five "pools" of resin that are my traditional layered paintings, full of natural artifacts such as coyote skulls, wasp nests, spiders, cicadas, and more.