Toxic Cities of the Future

This is a development of my ideas surrounding the concept that the future is desert. It was not long after christmas that I made this piece all thanks to a piece of biscuit packaging. This packaging caught my eye, the shapes were kind of beautiful and if you were just given the piece of plastic you may not necessarily realise what it’s used for. Also, this very shapely piece of plastic shouted ‘pointless’. I mean something like that is so pointless, it holds biscuits in an ‘attractive arrangement’ just because it can, it doesn’t make them taste any nicer, it’s literally just there for show and tidy positioning. But I guess the biscuits wouldn’t sell if they were just chucked in a box, because obviously the business that made them would rather spend a little time on the packaging and get more money than using less materials right? This is an example of the sort of things we in the West don’t think about because it’s so normal. That wasn’t the best example of showing the extent of hilarity and pointlessness we humans reach but it was enough to drive this piece of sculpture.

Once I’d identified my interest in this piece of carefully moulded plastic, considered the waste pile it will be found in, in just a few days; along with all the other biscuit packets, plastic meat, veg, ice-cream, cheese, toys, electrical appliances, hair products containers and packaging, I imagined the negative space within these piece of manufactured plastic and began collecting more from the bins.

Above is the result of tightly filling the containers with the oil sand and basically making sandcastles with them.

Reflection: My intention was to spontaneously create a sculpture that acts as a foreshadowing for the future. Oil sand holds its shape really well but it is also extremely harmful to the environment. By using such a significant material when making a model of a futuristic settlement or even a city from this harmful toxic material, it raises questions to whether or not we are already doing so. The sand has been shaped from the waste of our consumerist modern day world, metaphorically speaking,  by taking casts from the negative spaces of these products is what’s moulding our future. What’s within our plastic packaging is what we can expect to experience in the future, and that is toxic sands molded from what little resources we have left and masses of rubbish we have created.

By representing our future as being made from oil (a resource so undeniable key to politics, economics and being able to live our comfortable lives) sand, I imply a dry, desolate, toxic future where there’s no life in the landscape, no fruitful colours or wild animals, just dry contaminated material, and what’s left of us, living in emptiness inside.

Oil sand is such a great material to use so I don’t want to abandon it within my work. I’m unsure as of yet how to use it again but it would be really interesting to create another piece of sand sculpture that further explores the possibility of shaping our future, as well as possible including other elements or materials that will enhance further what I am trying to portray.





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