“The wine list was a blur. I had failed to bring my reading glasses! So, when I saw a bottle of Long Rail Gully pinot noir, I breathed out with relief,” writes RICHARD CALVER
Humorously titled “Recycled Reef”, the installation is designed to bring a touch of tropics to a grey corner of Canberra and was introduced to the public by Canberra artist Chris Endrey and CSIRO Land and Water principal research scientist Barbara Robson, at lunchtime.
Spelling out the word “RESOURCE” in exotic tropical blooms, it already had passers-by spotting words like “SOUR”, “OUR” and of course “SOURCE” within the words.
Several observers with long memories recalled the ziggurat-shaped laser light installation in the same area which lasted for quite a few years. In spite of the description of this new installation as “temporary”, the sturdiness of the plastic bottle Endrey was showing off suggested that it could last for a millennium or two.
Veteran public artists Phil Nizette and Jennifer Jones of Wellspring Environmental Arts & Design created “Recycled Reef” from plastic bottles and other recyclables sourced from just a couple of cafes in Civic. It is intended as a comment on Australians’ poor use of resources, increasing loads of plastic and other waste in the environment, and the effect that what they see as short-term thinking has on vulnerable habitats like the Great Barrier Reef.
“The latest reports suggest that the amount of plastic produced in a year weighs about the same as all the people on the planet… Human pressure is also increasing greenhouse emissions but there is a lack of urgency in the response to these problems. We can’t keep living like this,” Jones says.
“Just the number of milk bottles used in Canberra each day is phenomenal. We are certainly not immune here in the ACT. We hope the sight of colourful, and bleached, plastic corals of Recycled Reef will remind Canberrans that we all have a role to play in protecting our future.”
Funded by In the City Canberra, the project was also supported by the “Art, Not Apart” Festival, 21 Cafe, Mocan and Green Grout, Goodspeed Bicycle Company and participants in four art making workshops carried out by Wellspring.
“Recycled Reef”, Alinga Street, Pedestrian Bridge, corner of Alinga Street and West Row, West Civic, indefinitely.