MSLK’s New Eco-Installation, Watershed

Here at MSLK we are keenly interested in the effects of society’s mass consumption of plastic. It seems that the things that are most transient to us such as disposable bags, silverware, applicators, packaging and bottles are made from plastic, a material that is very enduring.

When we created 2663 Urban Tumbleweeds last year, our goal was to visualize the effects of this mindless consumption with 2663 plastic shopping bags, a number equal to 1 second of US consumption. This year, we are beginning to work on a similar idea focusing on plastic water bottles.

Water has become an important subject for me this year. I am very concerned about what we are doing to our oceans and waterways. In my humble opinion, I see water as resource more valuable than oil and one we may soon find ourselves scrambling to preserve and protect from all sides of the table.

Currently I am keenly aware that water has become a commodity that companies feel should be bought and sold to us in plastic containers. The negative effects of this are widely known, from the additional energy consumed to produce and truck bottled water, to the shift in priorities bottled water companies have on distributing water to poverty-stricken countries versus establishing public water system, to the toxins plastic emits into bottled water and into our environment overall.

It seems to us that if there is one area we can quickly and succinctly eliminate the need for additional plastic waste, it is in our consumption of plastic water bottles. There once was time when water was not bought or sold but rather consumed straight from the tap and we need to evolve back to this simpler, more efficient method.

Hence the subject for MSLK’s 2009 eco-installation, Watershed.

wa·ter·shed (wô’tər-shěd’, wŏt’ər-) n. A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point: “a watershed in modern American history, a time that … forever changed American social attitudes” (Robert Reinhold).

This installation will first be tested at the FIGMENT art festival on Governors Island in NYC June 12-14th, 2009. Watershed will ask participants to shed the feeling that they need to purchase water in plastic bottles when we have the best quality drinking water in the world coming out of our taps!

This installation will expand August 31st-September 7th, 2009 when we collect used water bottles from participants at the Burning Man art festival. Keeping with the 2009 festival theme of Evolution, our installation will evolve through out the week and ultimately display 3600 gallons of water, a number equal to approximately one day of on-site consumption by festival participants.

To get involved and donate to our project, please email me. We are currently seeking 1500 empty water bottles of any shape and size for our June installation.

We hope that with your support we can initiate the kind of reform that efforts like Urban Tumbleweeds in 2008 had for plastic bag consumption.

Here is a video of the assembly process: