In The Bag: when is enough enough?

Commission Leichhardt Council
Old Lilyfield Road Bridge 2016
Sydney NSW

Lilyfield road bridge_smThis environmental installation explores contemporary interpretations of commemorative monuments and occupies the full length of the old Lilyfield Road Bridge; until recently it was a major access route into central Sydney

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Eleven giant transparent fabric bags stand in an upright and orderly line. Each bag protecting a timber chair reclaimed from street-side waste and supports a locally grown indigenous plant. They stand reminiscent to a row of advertising billboards and in contrast their concept plays with and explores issues of illegal dumping of household products. This is an increasingly serious urban and rural problem; it’s unsightly, dangerous and symptomatic of society’s addiction to over consumption and materialism. This monumental art installation attempts to address these issues through raising awareness and conversations regarding the causes and stimulus for curb-side dumping.

Each pile of household waste acts as a memorial to the current ‘throwaway’ society, where products are manufactured for less resulting in diminishing quality, product life-spans and cheaply replaceable goods. They are also a reminder of society’s insatiable appetite for shopping and addiction to the ‘the thrill of the purchase’ and the short-lived mood enhancement achieved from retail therapy; in an attempt to find meaning in our lives (Hamilton & Denniss 2005).

Hamilton and Denniss describes these as symptoms of a contemporary disease they call Affluenza, defining it as:

“Af-flu-en-za. 1.The bloating, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts of keep up with the Joneses. 2. And epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the Australian dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth” (Affluenza When Too Much is Never Enough. Hamilton & Denniss 2005)

“In the marketing society, we seek fulfilment but settle for abundance. Prisoners of plenty, we have the freedom to consume instead of our freedom to find our place in the world.” (Growth Fetish. Hamilton & Denniss 2003)

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Materials: steel frame, nylon fabric, reclaimed timber chairs, local indigenous plants (on loan), reclaimed flower pots

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