omegafuckyeah.jpg
OMEGA

OMEGA

Image: University students wander through the artwork, each carrying a handful of pellets.

 

Statement:

Worldwide, human beings are buying 20,000 plastic bottles of water per second.[1] 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 sits in an ocean of 3.2 tons of pellets, with each pellet representing one bottle. 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.

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 asked each viewer to relinquish not only their shoes and socks, but also their phones. Without the hindrance of technology, one can be fully present. I also requested that the viewer carry two tablespoons of pellets, equal to what the average American man, woman and child consumes in one year.[3] Unfortunately, less than half of all bottles are recycled.[4]

 

[1] Laville, Sandra and Matthew Taylor. "A Million Bottles a Minute." The Guardian. 28 June, 2017. Web. 27 Aug, 2017. 

[2] Plastic’s largest market is packaging, an application whose growth was accelerated by a global shift from reusable to single-use containers. Source: Geyer, Jambeck and Law. “Production, Use and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made.” Science Advances Journal.  19 Jul 2017: Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782. Article.

[3] According to the 2015 Beverage Marketing Incorporated data, sales of bottled water to Americans in 2015 hit an all-time high of 1.7 Billion half-liter bottles per week. This is 5 bottles for every man, woman and child, or 252 per person. (Note: This represents sales of bottled water only, and is reflects a government rule that bottled water sales are banned in National Parks. This law was recently overturned by the Trump administration, opening the door to more consumption of plastic bottles and more waste). Source: Fishman, Charles. “If Bottled Water is So Bad, Why Are Sales Hitting Records?” National Geographic Magazine. April 20, 2016. Accessed August 27, 2017. Web.

[4] Geyer, Jambeck and Law. “Production, Use and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made.” Science Advances Journal.  19 Jul 2017: Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782. Article.

Omega28.jpg
Omega18.jpg
Omega9.jpg
IMG_1171.JPG
img_1577.jpg
Omega27.jpg
Omega26.jpg
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. 

Omega13.jpg
Omega24.jpg
 Some of the pools are quite deep.

Some of the pools are quite deep.

Omega21.jpg
 This part of the sculpture shows a coyote skull, wasp nest and wolf spider intersecting a pool of resin. The resin drips and cascades down into the blackness of Omega.

This part of the sculpture shows a coyote skull, wasp nest and wolf spider intersecting a pool of resin. The resin drips and cascades down into the blackness of Omega.

IMG_0291.JPG
_CJF9295 omega3lowres.jpg
 Omega brought about deep conversations between friends and strangers regarding their personal relationship to plastic. 

Omega brought about deep conversations between friends and strangers regarding their personal relationship to plastic. 

 As a counterpoint to Omega, I created Alpha, which contained every single piece of waste created in the making of Omega. All of it was sorted, bagged, and stacked in a museum vitrine opposite of Omega. The purpose of this work was to address my own culpability as a maker, as well as a person going through life, creating waste. 

As a counterpoint to Omega, I created Alpha, which contained every single piece of waste created in the making of Omega. All of it was sorted, bagged, and stacked in a museum vitrine opposite of Omega. The purpose of this work was to address my own culpability as a maker, as well as a person going through life, creating waste. 

OmegaAlpha1.jpg
 The staff at HiTec worked with me for months to create the thirty recycled wings which appeared at the base of Omega, as well as in the pellets. Later, they delivered the 87 million pellets to the warehouse, where a volunteer staff spread them out over geotextile fabric. (John Miller of HiTec, pictured). 

The staff at HiTec worked with me for months to create the thirty recycled wings which appeared at the base of Omega, as well as in the pellets. Later, they delivered the 87 million pellets to the warehouse, where a volunteer staff spread them out over geotextile fabric. (John Miller of HiTec, pictured). 

IMG_0556.JPG
IMG_0798.JPG
IMG_0802.JPG
IMG_1054.JPG
OmegaInstallation3.jpg
OmegaInstallation1.jpg