To gain a much deeper understanding of activism and how I can fabricate a visual piece to elicit an awareness of just how much waste our consumer based society is accumulating I looked to art. Tracing how ‘artivists’ (artist activists) have previously gained attention to issues on the wavelength of recycling, waste and consumerism lead me to greenpeace’s whale installment. A hefty 50foot installation of a whale beached on the sea side of Naic, Cavite. The installation was made from rubbish creating a potent visual display on issues relating to consumerism and waste. (greenpeace philippines)
photographer Benjamin Von Wong also calls attention to this issue through his visual works. he took 10000 used plastic bottles and arranged them into varying whimsy pelagic scenes. The visual beauty of his images is more enticing for people to want to share on the likes of social media, therefore creating awareness in this global society.
(Von Wong Benjamin)
The Large scale of installation art symbolises a big problem, prompting people to think about their actions. Von Wong’s work raises issue it but doesn’t help it, initially it may look like recycling and certainly is a way to reuse the bottles but at the end of the photo shoot which in a global time frame is very short lasting and the bottles are once again rubbish. There’s some irony in the fact that waste is long lasting alike good activism. A large problem with grasping people’s attention to the issue is this mindset that the issue is not to do with you. Mirzoeff specks of the link between activism and identification, they must work simultaneously to be successful. “How you see yourself” (mirzoeff 1). Mirzoeff talks about Zanele Muholi who asks questions in her portraits of identity and representation in art calling herself a ‘black lesbian’(mirzoeff 290) creating art to represent herself for others to relate to and engage with. This engagement is vital in visual activism. Creating a relationship with the viewer inspires active change. In the children’s picture book ‘The Lorax’ the lorax speaks for the trees because “the trees have no tongues”,( Dr seuss 19) the lorax represents others. Activists have to represent and “speak” up for the global impacts alike greenpeace did with their whale installation.
Works cited list
greenpeace philippines,This Giant Beached Whale is Filled With Plastic Trash … Literally, may 2017,http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/whale-filled-with-plastic-trash/
How I made plastic pollution more shareable with a Mermaid and 10000 plastic bottles – 3/3, VonWong benjamin, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdZ5AWaNQqc
Mirzoeff Nicholas,HOW TO SEE THE WORLD, penguin, 2015
Theodor seuss, the LOREX,random house, 1971
Von Wong Benjamin, plastic bottle mermaid, 2016, instalation, daily mail,http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4043360/Mermaid-photoshoot-highlights-damage-plastic-bottles-doing-ocean.html