Drop Dead Deadly
A group of Taiwanese art students from the National Taiwan University of Arts have become a viral success with one of their projects. To draw attention to contaminated and polluted waters in Taiwan (and elsewhere, as this is a global problem), they collected water samples from 100 different water sources and froze it into popsicles. Each popsicle gets a polyester resin coating to preserve it, and a lovingly designed wrapper that highlights the contrast between the beauty of the piece and its disturbing and deadly contents.
Looking at the different popsicles, you spot a lot of things – from packaging materials and plastic residues to contaminants you'd rather not identify. “We encountered scariest things in ditch number 7 because it is filled with unknown floating objects,” Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti say. The three are the creative minds behind the project, and it took them almost eight months to complete the collection.
Water pollution is a global problem that is on the rise. The 2017 UN World Water Development Report claims that over 80% of the world’s wastewater – and over 95% in some of the least developed countries – is released into the environment without treatment. “If current trends persist, water quality will continue to degrade over the coming decades, particularly in resource-poor countries in dry areas, further endangering human health and ecosystems, contributing to water scarcity and constraining sustainable economic development,” the report warns. The problem encompasses more than just open defecation, the only option for millions of people around the world. Industrial sewage and plastic microfiber pollution are also huge issues.
We are all very familiar with images of animals affected by ocean waste and debris on the beaches. The pictures of the popsicles provide a provocative and striking impression of the garbage particles that surround us in a resource our lives depend on. “Our concept comes from the observation of life,” the artists say. And what better way is there to hold up a mirror to our habits in daily life that pollute the environment than by using an object we all know and love?