Controversial public artwork that highlights litter divides locals
Is this Britain’s worst public artwork? ‘Plastic Mountain’ monument put up to highlight litter divides opinion… so is it a profound masterpiece or is it just plain RUBBISH?
- A controversial artwork has divided locals in West Norwood, south London
- Plastic Mountain consists of a metal cage, plastic litter and compacted earth
- Public artwork is intended to challenge viewers to rethink their plastic habits
- WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ARTWORK? Please email: [email protected]
A public artwork that aims to highlight plastic waste has divided locals with some saying the sculpture is so ugly it will trigger even more litter.
Plastic Mountain in West Norwood, south London, is made of compacted earth built around a metal cage with pieces of plastic litter tied to it.
The environmentalist creators of the monument say it is important because it highlights the issue this country has with plastic litter.
They say the sculpture has been designed to contrast the natural with the artificial and to challenge viewers to rethink their plastic habits.
But locals aren’t so sure and even its creators admit it’s a ‘Marmite’ piece.
A public artwork erected to highlight plastic waste has divided locals with some saying it’s so ugly it will cause even more people to litter (pictured is Plastic Mountain)
Plastic Mountain (pictured) in West Norwood, south London, is made from compacted earth built around a metal cage with pieces of plastic litter tied to it
More than 1,000 residents were involved in the project, with many crowdfunding and picking up pieces of litter to attach to the sculpture.
Compacted earth has been used to turn the piece into a ‘mountain’ designed to slowly degrade over the following weeks and months.
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The wire cage, which its creators describe as a ‘ghostly skeleton’ and the pieces of bright plastic will eventually be all that remains of the controversial artwork.
It has been designed by local artists and environmentalists Briony Marshall and Adeline Aletti to ‘slip’ as rain and wind batters it, revealing the pieces of plastic.
The project is supported by Arts Council England, Lambeth Council, the Norwood Forum, Friends of the Earth, and local businesses.
Despite being described as a ‘participatory public artwork’, some locals remain unconvinced and argue it makes the area look even worse.
Others claim pieces of litter have come off the sculpture, but its creators have insisted the rubbish is securely attached to the framework with string.
‘I hope we all agree that this is the worst ‘piece of art’ I have ever seen,’ one local said on Facebook.
‘I’ve complained to the council about it but they’ve done nothing. There are even studies done on how the beauty/ugliness of your local area affect life outcomes and ugliness does not come out well.
It was designed by local artists and environmentalists Briony Marshall (right) and Adeline Aletti (left) to ‘slip’ as rain and wind batters it, revealing the pieces of bright plastic
Despite being described as a ‘participatory public artwork’, some remain unconvinced and argue it makes the area look even worse (pictured, the sculpture in West Norwood)
The wire cage, which its creators describe as a ‘ghostly skeleton’ and the pieces of bright plastic will eventually be all that remains of the controversial artwork (pictured)
‘It wouldn’t surprise me if the presence of that monument actually resulted in more littering in our area. Honestly, I could do a whole ‘old man rant’ on this post but I’ll try to save my dignity.
‘It’s awful. It’s like pouring sewage on the floor in protest against a poor sewage system, or knocking down houses to complain against the shortage of affordable housing.’
Another wrote: ‘Our kid could make a better sculpture. She’s six.’
‘It’s an ugly eyesore,’ one said, while another local described it as an ‘absolute state.’
Another added: ‘It’s an eyesore, the sooner it melts away the better, taking the rubbish with it.’
‘It makes the area look even more scraggy, why do we need that?’ another wrote.
One resident simply described it as a ‘pile of s***.’
However, others said they understood the message behind the sculpture and insisted it wasn’t meant to be pretty.
‘It’s an eyesore, the sooner it melts away the better, taking the rubbish with it,’ one local said of the public artwork, which is designed to erode over the coming weeks and months
One of the creators, Briony Marshall, said there was a ‘vocal minority’ who didn’t like the sculpture but that it still carried a powerful message
‘Art will always attract primitive comments, but the fact that it keeps getting mentioned on here means that it’s working, it’s stimulating debate like all good art should,’ one said.
Another said: ‘It is not beautiful, it is very ugly – isn’t that exactly the point of it?
‘Its simple message is that non-recyclable rubbish is going to make our neighbourhood, and indeed our world, an ugly and toxic place.
‘The fact that it has provoked such strong reactions here suggests to me that it has been highly effective. I suspect that if the artist is reading these posts they will be very pleased.’
And another said: ‘Guys, the art isn’t meant to be pretty.
‘It’s meant to introduce conversations like these.’
Another commented: ‘From the state of the high street sometimes it’s obvious a lot of people don’t care about mess or pollution.
‘As ugly as it is, this ‘sculpture’ is designed to make people think about our impact on the environment.’
Creator Briony said there was a ‘vocal minority’ who didn’t like it – but it still carried a powerful message.
A sign near the sculpture explains the public artwork is ‘here to spark a conversation’
Locals are divided over Plastic Mountain (pictured) with some saying they understood the message behind the sculpture and insisted it wasn’t meant to be pretty
She said: ‘The sculpture hasn’t slipped, it is doing what we always said it would, which is that the earth is eroding and going, and the plastic litter remains.
‘This is to show that nature has its cycles but plastic isn’t part of them, and remains.
‘The plastic litter in the sculpture was all collected from the streets around the sculpture, and in the process of making it, we got lots of people litter picking and cleaning up the area.
‘It is all attached to a metal framework inside the sculpture, so should be falling off.
‘In the rare event of the string failing, we have local partners checking in it daily and we check on it two to three times a week.
‘But yes, it does seem to be a bit of a Marmite project with some great sports and a vocal minority who don’t like the look of it.’
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