Biospher Culture and the ‘Matter’ of waste


After listening to a Talk from the curator of the ‘Making Waves’ exhibition Melinda Watson founder of the ‘RAW’ foundation; we viewed the exhibition itself. After looking closely at many pieces of creative work I decided to base my blog post on a piece by Fran Crowe; which you can see above. The piece is made up of different pieces of plastic collected from different beaches near Crowe’s house; they have then been arranged into a colour wheel.

I found Crowe’s piece interesting as it had so many different and unique pieces to look at. These pieces each sparked a different memory whether it was an plastic bottle or a piece of plastic casing from a sweet that I used to consume as a child.Every piece of the artwork evoked a different reaction for example my father used to own one of the Nike flip flops that was in the middle of the blue section of the piece; this for me was a strange reaction to a piece of ‘Art’ that I had never experienced before; all of the museums that I have been too across different countries, I have never been able to relate to a piece in such a way. This I suppose is the intention of the work; to spark an emotional attachment to these pieces of plastic that have been thrown away and washed up these objects that we once wouldn’t think twice about. Arranging them in this way with the inclusion of so many objects does spark thought; it made me personally start to think about the sheer volume of objects I dispose of without thought on a daily basis; things that can spark memories, important memories of days out with the family or even just random days at school which for me were sparked by the ‘Hubbabubba’ red plastic casing found in Crowe’s piece.

The reading that we read in preparation for the visit to the Create Centre written by Guy Hawkins talks about the way Single use objects changed the relationship people had with objects. Before the plastic ‘Revolution’ which is the period where we were introduced to plastic and almost every commercial product we bought included it in some way; humans would often re-use products, but the introduction of “Single-Use objects” contributed to the emergence of new waste habits. This I feel is incredibly relevant to the piece I am writing about from the exhibition as a high percentage of these objects are “Single use objects”. Hawkins goes on to talk about how we are changing as we are being shocked by images of landfill; He says “Waste has become visible, a landscape in its own right” this impact is similar to the one that I experienced when viewing Crowe’s piece, but I suppose with the personal, recognizable plastics in her piece it had an even greater impact on me as it was made personal.

I suppose by viewing the waste in the way that I did creates a clearer picture of what we are throwing away. It gives a name to all of the individual pieces of plastic that are thrown away each and every day; making the viewer ultimately view this ‘Waste’ as ‘Objects’ that have an identity; making it personal; hitting your before untouched conscience.


Hawkins, G. (2005) ‘Plastic Bags’, in The Ethics of Waste: How We Relate to Rubbish, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 21-44pp.


One thought on “Biospher Culture and the ‘Matter’ of waste

  1. This is a very sensitive response to the exhibit, and I enjoyed reading your account of it. You need to mine the reading more, though, to situate these thoughts in the context of a more elaborate outline of her argument, not only the history of it, but the conceptual framing too: what is her approach to waste habits as part of the formation of the self?

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