Plastic Bag Bunting

September 2018 at SOMOS ABQ, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Plastic Bag Bunting is an installation which explores excess and ubiquity of material. Plastic bags were reworked into rope and cord, forming flags and draped bunting which cross Albuquerque’s Central Avenue, cascading down into a density of shredded and tasseled material down light posts. The drapery contains bundles, small personal objects reduced to anonymity by the thin container of plastic. The bunting echoes both celebratory decorations as well as construction flags, and when caught by the wind activate the street with a frame of shifting and floating motion.  

Plastic Bag Bunting asks viewers to consider the impacts of urban development and a corporate economic landscape on environment and communities. The recourse to mass-produced forms and convenience of materials reflects a larger cultural myopia which is equally prevalent in speculative planning and public discourse around the future of downtown Albuquerque.  What (and who) is considered disposable in the push to clean and organize public spaces?

Plastic bags are a contentious object, made illegal in some places, while in others it is almost impossible to avoid accumulating them.They are fragile and ephemeral, while also lasting forever, and are paradoxically beautiful for such a problematic item. These bags are a quick fix, a reminder of the ways in which we are caught up, often beyond our individual control, in larger cycles of production and consumption. These mass-produced bags are an intimate item, vessels for our food and personal belongings, and reminders of the time-scale on which our habits, actions, and assumptions will continue to impact the world around us.