Plastic is evil. One of the reasons for this is its ubiquity.
No longer is it just the bags in the supermarket or the lightweight bottle of water you carry around, there is a giant mass of plastic waste floating in the Ocean (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch between California and Hawaii is the biggest) and microplastics have been found in our tap water. It is simply everywhere.
Yet, what now occurs to us as a major environmental and potential health problem, was once seen as a great help to human society. Wrapping
food for freshness or as travel bags for flights, shipping goods or human skin, it was being used to contain anything one could think of and, in consequence, we will eventually contain it in our bodies. In a plastic world, the safeword was always thought to be „recycling“, but this turned out to be either a euphemism or a lie, considering the lack of technique in separating plastics, the fact that some plastics will simply be burnt for use of energy or sold off to a country that is willing to take the trash of others for financial reasons or,perhaps, lack of choice.
Obviously, there are still many aspects of plastic that are to our benefit, from reconstructive surgery to LEGO, from plasticware to acrylic glass to secure delicate works of art.
The common shopping bag, alas!, appears to be a dying breed. Many shops started charging for plastic bags to reduce the amount of bags being used and to incent reuse. Others started to use paper bags, or they allow people to bring their own containers for groceries etc.
Before all the bags disappear (as they hopefully soon will) I decided to celebrate the plastic bag with a group of paintings where the bag serves as a canvas. A clue to the narrative of the paintings lies in a song about dogs: „Hundeleben“. A dog’s life, a dog’s breakfast, there’s life in the old dog yet, a case of dog-eat-dog. These paintings may last forever unless they go in the bin, as some art does these days. They might wash up in an ocean far away. At least dogs know how to swim. As does plastic.
- Cornelius Quabeck