C O N C R E T E F L O W E R S
Front cover for my archive of beautiful litter
Litter is interesting because our semiotic relationship to it regards it to be useless waste, a burden or nuisance. For this reason we subconsciously block it out from our focus when walking down a street, this allows people to save our attention for things that we deem more important. It may also be true that acknowledging this material is exhausting because of the stigma associated with the effort required to clear it. I found that when I stopped avoiding the issue it began to spiral out of control. LITTER IS EVERYWHERE and once I began to realise that, I couldn’t stop. Naturally, it easier to avoid but I chose to harness my frustration proactively, monitoring and recording it as data.
Litter isn’t just an eye saw, it increases CO2 emissions because more virgin material needs to be made. This hastens the date we reach Overshoot day, marking the day we use up all the resources the earth can generate in a year. The fact that we even pass this point every year is problematic and yet we continue to use more and more, the majority of it doesn’t biodegrade and so pollutes ecosystems, and if that is too large scale to comprehend, at least know that your tax’s are being spent on street cleaning.
Data set 1:
Litter attracts more littering and circumvents proper disposal.
Disregarding cigarettes; the large majority of litter is take away/on the go food and drink, making up 96% of the sample.
Litter tends to gather around area’s where we can sit down: bus stops, low walls, beside steps, patches of grass.
These were the statistical trends but the behavioural trends and demographic trends and cultural differences were more fascinating. I could see what food and drinks were eaten in different area’s of London, where people chose to sit and gather, what recreational activities were indulged, even the routes that would have been taken from a shop to where they went. Without knowing the people involved, their litter could paint a quite vivid picture of their activities and behaviours.
Litter became something more to me, I saw these colourful specks as flowers in a concrete jungle. Compelled to tell the stories left by these bread crumb trails, I decided to collect the litter between tube stops and various locations around zone 3. I chose zone 3 because it hosts the majority of areas that are changing the most rapidly in London. My installations aim to capture a moment in time, a snapshot of cultural history that can tell a greater story about these area’s than a photo could. Whilst also drawing the viewers’ attention to the litter that would otherwise go unnoticed.