Urban Tumbleweeds: Eco Installation

MSLK-Urban Tumbleweeds Desert

As designers, we feel compelled to challenge ourselves to raise awareness on the environmental issues facing society. Not only does it put our talents to good use but it also encourages our clients to think about green alternatives. With this in mind, we sought to create an art installation that would educate the public about the severe environmental impacts caused by society’s mindless overconsumption of plastic.

Every second, 2,663 plastic bags are consumed in America. Although these bags are free, their true cost to the environment is alarming. In cities, loose plastic bags are referred as “urban tumbleweeds” and can be found caught in trees and littering street corners. Worse yet, plastic bags are polluting our oceans, killing our sea life, and increasing our dependency on oil. MSLK sought to exploit these outrageous facts and create an eco-art installation that would make the public reflect on their consumer behavior.

In order to visually translate the statistic of 2,663 bags consumed per second, MSLK constructed a chain made out of 2,663 bags spanning half a mile in length. The flexible format of the linked chain allowed the installation to be effective in various environments—entangled in the trees of urban parks as well as stretching across vast desert landscapes. Furthermore, throughout the installation, we integrated informational signage featuring facts on how to change and improve the environmental crisis.

Urban Tumbleweeds debuted at the 2008 Burning Man Festival and has continued to virally raise awareness on the dangers of plastic bag consumption. MSLK’s green initiative has been covered by Current TV and NY1 and featured in Discovery Channel Canada, Inhabitat, GD USA, and Step Inside Design.