Colossal recently featured an interesting art project by PUTPUT, two Copenhagen-based artists who shine a light on what they see as “the metaphysical relationship between objects and people.”
The project, “Fruitless,” involved filling a greenhouse in Scotland with dozens of garden pots filled not with actual plants but with plastic household items in varying shades of green. The disconnect between things like the cactus you might expect and the stack of green plastic cups you’re faced with provides an opportunity to reexamine both your expectations and those cups.
I also find it interesting to look carefully at the form and appearance of these objects, since we’re used to paying attention primarily to what they do, or to what we do with them. (Have you looked at a dishwashing scrubby lately?)
Having a lovely time considering the whimsy of this project, I sober up quickly when I switch gears and see it as a cautionary tale. We’re currently piling up a vast, non-biodegradable excess of plastic at an unprecedented rate on both land and sea. To what extent will those ominous plastics, represented in a deceptively harmless way by these innocent plastics, begin to edge out the sorts of things that we’ve been accustomed to enjoying in greenhouses? Unpalatable food for thought.