‘On Moss & Bottles’ is an exhibition showing a selection of biodegradable sculptures from Gwenyth Chao’s ‘Plasticity’ series. For the 2022 DesignTO Festival, Chao’s semi-transparent, ghostly casts of everyday plastic containers are installed on sustainably sourced moss and recycled plastic bottle (PET) carpet in partnership with Daltile Mohawk Group. The sculptures are made from consumable food items – water, tapioca starch, glycerin and vinegar – and will return to the earth as compost at a much faster rate than the original plastic objects. Contrasting the uniformity of mass manufactured plastics, each sculpture is a unique form that shifts and shrinks during the curing period. The gel-like membranes each have their own patina of textures and imprints from the plastic packaging’s lot numbers and expiration dates; even as plastics persists at microscopic scale deep in our soil and waterways.
The exhibition is a meditation on the changing fragility of our relationship with the environment and what it means to be plastic in our Anthropocene era. The questions surrounding our intimacy with plastics and the ecological responsibility of the art and design world were part of conversations Chao had at Banff’s Plastics Artist-in-Residency program in 2021.
In addition to the exhibition, there is a window installation component to this project that can be viewed from outside the showroom 24/7.