Alaska has a rubbish problem. As you probably noticed in the aftermath of the Japanese Earthquake, America's northernmost state happens to be the dumping grounds for all the garbage the Pacific Ocean doesn't want. Now, an industrious artist is drawing attention to the problem.
Cynthia Minet's latest project, Pack Dogs, goes on display this week at the Anchorage Museum. The idea is simple enough — it's just a pack of glowing dogs pulling a sled — but the execution is extraordinary. Manet made everything out of rubbish that she either scavenged or made. It's dumpster diver art, and it's kind of her thing.
The dogs are impressively anatomically correct. Manet actually projected a canine skeleton onto the walls of her studio and used PVC pipes to build the skeletons. The rest of the parts included everything from old kitty litter to a discarded orange iMac. She then filled each dog with about 200 LEDs so that they light up in colours to match the northern lights. The sled is an old rowboat that, Minete says, "was totally rank with cat piss" when she found it.
Again, part of the idea is to draw attention to the sometimes knee deep piles of trash along Alaska's coastline, but the LA artist also hopes the piece invites people to think deeper. "I think environmental issues are related to the use of animals as we take over the planet," Minet says. "I wanted to link the idea of working, domestic animals as surrogates for humans — we're domesticated into our chores, our jobs, and especially our dependence on electricity and petrochemicals and plastics."
The exhibit will be on display at the Anchorage Museum through September, and will tour the lower 48 thereafter. Alaska's trash problem, unfortunately, will likely last much longer than that. [Wired]