As designers, we feel compelled to challenge ourselves to raise awareness on the environmental issues facing society. Not only does it put our talents to good use, but it also encourages our clients to think about green alternatives. With this in mind, we sought to create an art installation that would educate the public about the wasted resources, environmental impacts, and health risks caused by disposable plastic water bottles.
Every second, 1,500 bottles of water are consumed in America. Of these 50 billion bottles, 80% end up in a landfill, even though recycling programs exist. These statistics are especially stunning considering the availability and high quality of tap water in this country versus the lack of regulations on bottled water. MSLK sought to exploit these outrageous facts and create an eco-art installation that would make the public reflect on their consumer behavior.
In order to visually translate the statistic of 1,500 bottles of water consumed per second, MSLK constructed chains made out of empty bottles collected from the New York City area. The flexible format of the chains allowed the installation to be effective in various environments – from industrial loading docks to more rural settings. Furthermore, throughout the installation, we integrated informational signage featuring facts on how drinking tap water and using a reusable bottle is not only better for you, but better for your pocket book and the environment.
Watershed debuted at the 2009 Figment Festival in New York City, which attracted over 13,000 visitors, and was transformed for the 2009 DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival for an audience of over 150,000. It has been covered in publications such as Inhabitat, GD USA, and The Sierra Club, and is the topic of conversation on many blogs. With the dangers of plastic and our water systems being particularly hot topics, MSLK continues to get inquiries about future installations.