For my sketches and ideas, I was inspired by the art of Bonsai. In this art, one could spend hundreds of years and not have their tree shaped perfectly to their specifications. It is an art of patience, and of knowing you will never truly know how your piece will look 5,10, 50 years down the road. the bonsai artist much slowly over time move the trances and roots and core of the tree into position with wrapped wire, forcing the tree to bend and grow into the desired shape. They are kept in very small pots so they do not grow too large and are easier to train. To me, this becomes an all too real view into how humans have decidedly come to lord themselves over a force such as nature.
Upon looking further into the interaction between humans and nature, I became aware of the tragedy of the burning Amazon forests. Humans have destroyed our natural world since we were able to wield tools capable of cutting it down, however it is the most recent centuries were we have truly set out to damage our most precious resource. Fracking, deforestation, negligent (and purposeful) forest fires, over fishing, pollution…. the list never ends. Our world has changed, and with it, so has our interaction with the natural world.
With modern times comes all of our modern comforts. One of these such comforts is plastic. Plastic is in everything. In that way, plastic in turn is everywhere, including places it shouldn’t be. Micro plastic are a relatively new threat to our environment. They are pieces of plastic less than 5 mm in size, and they are everywhere. Our pollution has become so bad, micro plastics have been found in arctic ice flows and other places humans very rarely go. They are carried by currents, wind, animals and of course, people.
This piece is intended to show the harsh relationship we hold with the natural world. We build and expand, taking away from the natural world and forcing/allowing nature only to grow where and when we want it to. If we were to suddenly vanish, it would take decades for cities to return to forest and hundreds of years for the metal and concrete to succumb to the forces of the natural world. Even then, it will take thousands of years for the plastics we pump into the world to finally be broken down and decomposed.
The three sketches show the concept of my Bonsai Box. The Bonsai box is the art of Bonsai; training the roots and tree to grow how you, the artist, choose it to. In my initial idea and sketches, the box has a wooden lid which is penetrable, if you were to allow the tree to grow untrained. The bottom of the box is plastic, a man-made substance which is impenetrable by the tree’s roots, aside from the holes drilled specifically for the roots to enter the soil housed inside the box. This idea was however changed, to an entirely plastic box as the moisture in the soil would eventually ruin the wooden lid and thus the irony that this work will also eventually end up as another piece of plastic pollution, though hopefully not in my lifetime. My sketches also include leaves, these were however also omitted as I wanted my piece to show the impact of plastics killing our forests.
Scale: The box is intended to be four inches long, four inches wide and four inches deep. the walls will be only a few mm thick. The tree itself will be slightly larger than the box, running around 5 inches tall, and wide on both sizes.
My blobject will have an entirely plastic skin, with the box being left to it’s 3D printed color of grey, whereas the tree will be painted to appear as realistic as I am able to portray.
This project is a small scale reference to full scale forests and their relationships with full scale cityscapes.