The research references I used for this project were a mixture of photography, graphic art and installation. I would have liked to include a look into film but I really struggled to remember the movie my reference to dark hair came from. I also created a photomontage of photography, graphic art and paintings depicting plastic carrier bags because I was interested in seeing how other artists chose to portray the subject and to give me ideas on how to approach the idea myself.
Sophie Gerrard’s ‘E-Wasteland’ series consisted of a number of different shots that communicated the message of just how bad the electronic waste issue in India has become. I found that one of the successful ways she did this was by capturing the piles of waste – such as computer monitors or keyboards – in their large numbers. This inspired me to try to use a large number of one thing, as opposed to just two or three singular subjects on their own, in my own project as I felt it was really effective. I also really liked how she photographed people throughout the series too as it shows just who is being directly affected by this toxic waste.
Similarly, Chris Jordan’s ‘Running the Numbers’ series was successful to me for the same reason as Sophie Gerrard’s series; that it – quite literally – portrayed the respective issues through the use of numbers and repetition. To create the images he scanned the subject and digitally duplicated it to create his piece and so although his graphics were on a much larger scale than anything I could achieve, I was really inspired by the fact he used a precise number of the subject – no matter how large that value was – to communicate just how bad the individual issues have become.
Song Dong’s ‘Waste Not’ installation piece directed my project in two ways. The first is that it inspired me to use plastic bags for my project as his subject were things that his mother had collected and plastic bags are something myself and my family collect on a regular basis. Therefore not only was it practical as I definitely had a great amount of plastic carrier bags already on hand to be used, but it was also somewhat personal to me as recycling and reusing plastic bags is something I’ve been raised to care about. The second way it helped direct me is that it, paired with the movie, inspired me to make something to photograph. I initially considered wrapping the plastic bags around different objects but I found this difficult to do and the second and final idea much more practically and easier to accomplish.
The horror movie I refer to in previous research was something I really struggled with as being unable to remember which movie it was made it difficult to do any concrete research on it. The scene I can recall and was inspired by had hair growing out of the corner of the ceiling in long black waves and this, to me, reminded me of dark oil spills created by human carelessness. I saw a link between oil spills and plastic bags because these are both things that directly affect marine life and birds and both are due to humans neglect. The scene from this movie inspired the concept behind the subject itself as well as the title because I liked the idea that, like the hair, the plastic carrier bags could grow and consume the room in a reflection of how the amount of plastic bags being used and discarded is growing worse over the years.