Make My Bed

The inspiration of this artwork comes from the Extinction Rebellion organization and Ackroyd & Harvey. The protests caused a sensation in London and around the world. With their three demands: tell the truth, act now, and beyond politics, I started to thinking about the environmental protection. Environmental problem has been a global concern. Human producing and manufacturing waste every day. Due to the convenience of life, we throw the trash to garbage can and we don’t care where did they go. Because we know the trash is far far away, and it’s no longer our obligation.

Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have worked together since 1990 when they discovered they both used grass as an artistic medium. Because the medium is nature itself, their work is very environmentally friendly. When I saw they involved in the Extinction Rebellion protest, I was amazed about their grass coats. Unlike other protesters chanted loudly and all forms of outlandish behavior, while Ackroyd and Harvey’s grass coat took a different approach.

Grass Coats

Extinction Rebellion | London Fashion Week

So I started to collected the trash from my daily life. In this process, I realized that plastic is certainly a superhero when it comes to making life more convenient. Single-serve beverages and food in plastic packaging are an easy option for me, because I order takeout every single day. This saved me a lot of time, I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to wash dishes, all I have to do is clean up the mess and throw them to the garbage can. But how long will this convenient life last? Until  we submerged in the river of plastic and trash?

With doubt, with a thought, I was in search for a solution. I started thinking what  would it be like to live with garbage. Our lives are surrounded by plastic, so what I need to do is turn trash and plastic into necessities, to experience the real intimacy with the daily waste. Because people spend half their time in bed, therefore my final decision is to make a “duvet”. I have collected many white trash, not only the actual duvet is white, but also I tried to present my work in a harmless way. Give the audience an illusion that the “duvet” looks comfortable, and makes people want to lie down.

The resulting work is not only for installation, I gradual change it to a video work. The Extinction Rebellion protest mainly took place in Trafalgar Square. Therefore, I took my bed to the same location and staged my own protest. The protest was pretty simple, I was laying in front of Equestrian Statue of Charles I, facing the Trafalgar Square, covered with my “duvet”. I kept my eyes closed the whole time, and no expression on my face. I summoned up a great deal of courage to lie on the square. The weather was cold, and it rained the day before. Some passengers stopped by and wondered if this is a performance art. But I consider the whole process as a short documentary, because the camera recorded everything happened in that hour.

 

When I was editing the video, it’s interesting to see people’s different reaction. Someone stopped by and ask my friend question in a friendly way, someone spent one second to take a picture and left quickly, someone gently touched my “duvet”, and someone didn’t even look at me. These different response and action are just like people's attitude towards garbage. I hope through this work, more and more people can pay attention to plastic and environment pollution.