May the Winds Not Carry Us Out to Sea is a gigantic windsock sculpture: workshopped with festival visitors and finding the wind as a vehicle of the elements and an expression between human hands, plastic waste and the sea. This work physically and socially connects the material impacts to the dialogue of plastic pollution in the ocean and the act of flailing precariously and urgently towards preserving the Earth’s vital oceans; critically engaging with mankind’s relationship to climate change and alarmingly polluted ocean habitats. May the Winds Not Carry Us Out to Sea will be created through collective actions; using reused collaged sections from assorted single-use plastic trash bags including; yellow biohazard waste bags, Californian orange jumbo sacks, titanium glutton sized trash bags from the USA, common blue Berlin garbage bags, pink Auckland Metrowaste bags, pink charity collection sacks, green Wellington council rubbish bags and more. The various bags come from my personal collection of past creative projects and accumulated visual research into single-use plastic waste materials and should be broken down and recycled properly afterwards the project concludes.
The ephemeral sculptural piece will measure four to five times airport scale, proportioned windsock sculpture to be exhibited, erected and flown at a suitable site, it could be tested in a large open public gallery, a foyer space with multiple fans and/or wind machine set up in collaboration with a local scientist/meteorologist/wind physicist/expert as it will be important to gauge the desired wind speed to billow and inflate the sculptural form of the Windsock, striking a crucial balance between plastic and weather. Once tested the piece could also be taken outdoors in the right conditions as influenced by local weather and climate to a designated site for a site-specific installation and communal performative action. The movement of human bodies supporting this large-scale flaccid burden of plastic waste material becomes a chaotic dance in the weather and could be a failure! There is an activated sense of play between pure creative action and this undulating plastic monstrosity. The possibility of locating the collective action on a pier with the Windsock in close proximity to the sea would intensify the precarious dialogue between plastic and ocean.
Technically the Windsock will be quilted together in sections with clear wide packaging tape building the larger collaged shape. Any leftover plastic material could potentially be reused to make a number of personal smaller scale windsocks forming additional pieces in the ephemeral installation and group performance activation, recycled properly and/or shared into another project. Please Note: 5x airport scale = 18.25m Long x 4.5m Diameter Mouth x 1.25m Diameter Tail.
This project is fundamentally about generating dialogue and shared social learning about plastic pollution, single use plastics in the oceans and ocean wellbeing; shared through the communal processes as the sculpture is created. During the Universal Sea Festival – my workshop actions could involve collectively assembling, mapping out and joining the windsock pattern together in a public space inviting participation and dialogue upon the global scale plastic pollution crisis in Earth’s oceans.
The completed sculptural form will be a problem too large for me to handle alone, a metaphor for the reality of the scale of crisis we face in cleaning our oceans of unwanted plastics and striving to make them pure again. The final key public actions will require group energy, to carry and openly fill and fly the Windsock together; symbolic of our need to join together in removing single use plastics from our lives, inciting change in our societies and habits of consumption through art and acting as catalyst towards a plastic free future.
This is a future project, May the Winds Not Cary Us Out to Sea has not been realised and so there are no existing images of the work, it requires imagination, innovation and activation to bring it life.
This image is of my most recent performance – Solar Nap Coal Rest – during Performance Art Week Aotearoa 2017. For most of us, the knowledge that the ocean is rising rests somewhere in the recesses of our minds uncomfortable, but far from urgent. Solar Nap Coal Rest asks us to consider “Can we afford to take a nap in the face of climate change?” The resting performance hinges on its temporal qualities; resting in the tidal zone on a pillow of coal, the imminent threat of a rising sea, wild raging onshore weather sending gusts of bone chilling wind blasting at my futile gold wrapper, an audience wrapped in woolly blankets watching over me in anticipation for the moment when the sea licks my frozen toes and rushes up, up, up.