com·pla·cent | \ kəm-ˈplā-sᵊnt \
1: marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies: marked by complacency: self-satisfied: unconcerned.
8.3 billion metric tons of virgin (non-recycled) plastic has been produced as of 2015 (the latest complete study), generating 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Nine percent of that waste has been recycled and 12% has been incinerated. Imagine 80 million blue whales or 1 billion elephants, each of those are the equivalent of just 1 billion metric tons. Twelve billion metric tons will enter the environment by 2050 if current production and waste management trends continue.
The artwork presented by Elizabeth Suriani explores the relationship between modern day society and the impact it has on our surrounding world and ecosystem. The instillation titled, Complacent, seeks to create a sense of discomfort and urgency in response to the current climate crisis and the overproduction and consumption of single use plastics that are polluting our ecosystem.
During the span of 45 days in 2019, Elizabeth collected over 1,134 used plastic bags from friends, neighbors, and off the streets of Bangkok. She cut each bag into long strips and knitted a giant blanket that is bound together with plastic straws and water bottles.
Imagine this blanket floating down the Chao Phraya river or washed up on your favorite beach. If this vision disgusts you, as the viewer and consumer of plastic, what makes it any different than seeing Styrofoam blocks and water bottles floating along? Is there any difference? One thing that can be certain though, is just like the single toothbrush, straw, or piece of bubble wrap that will be around for thousands of years; this blanket will equally bear the same time of existence.
I ask you to not be complacent. Reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, remove!