An Endless Thing With No End in Sight;
The Louisiana Pipeline
"An Endless Thing With No End in Sight; The Louisiana Pipeline" was created during my six weeks Changing Landscapes Residency at A Studio In The Woods. This work of art is a direct, positive reaction to the Gulf Oil disaster of 2010; it is intended to engage viewers on the subject of sustainability against the backdrop of the perils of the recent disasters in Southern Louisiana. The pipeline has been created using one of the most common found products in our daily lives: plastic. However this has not been produced from the plastics of yesteryear, but has been created using an oxo-biodegradable plastic. Oxo-biodegradable plastics are one of the most important breakthroughs in our post industrial age. Soon, oxo and solar-biodegradable plastics will be found in every household item, but only through strong promotion and public awareness.
Art has the amazing ability to engage the minds of the public at large and I aim to use my work as an artist to promote companies and scientists who are solving some of our most pertinent ecological issues through innovation. The only way we can effect real change is to educate people about the products they use, and "The Louisiana Pipeline" aims to serve just this purpose.This work of art evokes an elevated pipeline, a symbol which represents our dependency on the oil industry. This pipeline however is not carrying oil, but instead is filled with bagasse (the byproduct of sugarcane production) and seeds from various sedges, rushes and rounds which are indigenous to Southern Louisiana. I have also planted Sunflower seeds within the sculpture to add a touch of bioremediation to the mix. The indigenous seeds were harvested with the help of students from Tulane University from plots of land that surround A Studio In The Woods. "An Endless Thing with No End in Sight; The Louisiana Pipeline" is intentionally engineered to biodegrade and fall apart. To achieve this, the cross beams on the rising Chinese Tallow struts are held in place with dowels, which will
give way and bring the pipeline crumbling down to the earth below. Due to the constant exposure to the sun and rain, the oxo-biodegradable plastic will biodegrade, thereby releasing the seeds held within into the composted earth below. As the biodegradable plastics continue to decompose, they will act as a fertilizer for the seeds, creating a flourishing garden for viewers to marvel at for years to come. Where once stood an innovative work of art, soon only a garden will remain, speaking to the idea that the products we use can become sustainable and thus breaking the manufacturing cycle of take, make, and waste.
Chinese Tallow is an invasive species of tree which has been rapidly growing across the South and is competing with Oak, Cypress, and other native species for nutrients and land. By using this tree, I was able to use a material without taking needlessly from our woods. The Chinese Tallow is not held in place with concrete; instead I used clay, naturally harvested when digging the foundation for this piece, to hold the vertical structure in place without the use of industrial products. The circular vertebrate of the sculpture, which are roughly 16 inches in diameter, were made from a fallen Oak tree, also harvested from a lot of land surrounding ASITW.
Not one single nail or screw was used to assemble this piece. Instead I used dowels from sustainably managed forests, and hemp rope. Using this material, will again, allow the entire sculpture to biodegrade without releasing any toxins back into the ground and serve as a fertilizer for the seeds held within, leaving the soil beneath in better shape than it was before this sculpture existed.
I enjoy the modern luxuries of our industrial and technological age; however we are now in a time where sustainable design can perfect the products and tools we've been using for decades. As an artist I strive to create pieces which reach beyond gallery walls, beyond the aesthetic and imaginative. I want to create work which creates social change, work which addresses our most pressing ecological issues. This work of art, and all of the public art I am pursuing, challenges everyone, in every industry, to rethink how we approach the products we use.