Lucy + Jorge Orta — Clouds — Nuages


Mixed media

Lucy + Jorge Orta
Clouds — Nuages

Past: September 17 → December 10, 2011

During a research trip to Cairo, Egypt in 2009 Lucy + Jorge Orta visited the Zabbaleen community who live on a garbage mountain of Moqattam. Round 65,000 Zabbaleen people live off this refuse sorting, sifting, classifying the city’s waste: bottles, plastic jerry cans, fabric, cardboard. Reflecting on the sheer volume of the debris, in particular the plastic water container, they began experimenting with assemblage using recycled bottles. The resulting Cloud sculptures are the second phase in the OrtaWater project, here we see their research shift from the water distribution cycle to that of the consumer object and it’s consequence on society: on the one hand a vital commodity for the recycling community and on the other a disastrous pollutant on the environment.

“There are huge nebulous islands floating out at sea, filled with the detritus of human life: bottle caps, toothbrushes, popsicle sticks, light bulbs, and tiny pieces of plastic. Some say one island is twice the size of Texas; others say one weighs over 3.5 million tons. These great masses are increasing yet nobody is alarmed by these poisonous vortexes although their existence has been known since the 1950’s. Fragments of these nebulous islands have broken away like chunks of iceberg -these are the Clouds. Assembled with thousands of found water bottles, the resin contours of these new organic shapes create crevices and shadows of their former identity. Objects are incrusted into in these strange organic structures: remnants of a former household, village, a fisherman’s’ boats, a ladder, a bicycle, chairs. Clouds are reminders of the cycles and fragility of life.”

Lucy Orta

  • Opening Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7 PM