Thirst Knows No Season
Glass Crystal, Dichroic Lens
Installation size – L200 W180 H110mm
Glass - L200 W180 H100mm
Photographer - Russell Watson
“It takes 1 million years for 1 glass bottle to break down in landfill. The things we make and consume will outlive us all.”
We are a generation struggling to correct or counterbalance previous generations’ contribution towards accelerating climate change. Thirst Knows No Season, a title borrowed from a 1922 Coke ad, highlights the rise of the consumerist industry, its impact on the environment and the directly linked demise of natural global seasons; heralding the beginning of the anthropocentric era.
It is a familiar picture within the visual vernacular of popular culture that depicts a bottle of Coke sitting chilled in a bucket of ice waiting to quench the consumer’s thirst. Thirst Knows No Season depicts a predicted future parallel to this, a vision in which a discarded decomposing Coke bottle is fused within a bed of quartz crystals. The bottle and crystals are both familiar iconographic elements of the organic and man-made worlds. Here they combine, appearing as though time and some unknown force in nature has taken hold, forming a ‘Super ecology’ in which the natural and artificial have become inextricably bound within one system.
In hindsight consumerism will appear to be a culture so contagious it created an unquenchable thirst that halted natural life cycles, changing the course of nature and its governance over the natural world.
“Coke, the greatest pause on Earth” – Coke 1967.
Founded 131 years ago, the Coca-Cola company was sold to my grandmother’s generation as ‘the national drink’, ‘as pure as sunlight’ to raise your children on. Indoctrinated from baby-hood Coke claimed that “Laboratory tests ... have proven that babies who start drinking coke during early formative years have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance into society.” Catastrophic generational physical and psychological health impacts aside, the material by-product of this culture and industry was the production of millions of glass bottles.
Mass bottle bank recycling began in the late 1970s, over 90 years after coke, its predecessors, and competitors had already placed billions of glass bottles into landfill. Although my mother’s generation has ensured that virgin glass today is a 100% recyclable product, praised for its multi-industrial uses; there are thousands of remaining glass products produced today that contribute to the glass industry’s environmental footprint and legacy. Light bulbs, microwave turn tables, mirrors, glass crystal and products that contain recycled glass are the tip of the iceberg of the industry’s non- recyclables.
This work will be on exhibition in Every Second Feels Like A Century at West Space Aug 31 – 12 Oct 2017.