For their final senior project, Hung Yi-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, three design students at National Taiwan University of Arts, were inspired by a waterway behind their campus in New Taipei City. Specifically, they were inspired by how disgusting and polluted it was; it was nearly black.
In order to draw attention to the pollution, they decided to collect water from 100 water sources around Taiwan and freeze them into popsicles.
From a distance, most of the popsicles are eerily beautiful, in an assortment of colors with interesting objects suspended inside. Up close, it becomes more obvious that the interesting objects are actually garbage that you don’t want in your water: cigarette butts, bottle caps, disposable chopstick wrappers, pieces of an oyster shell. There’s also a lot of silt and oil.
The students created packaging for each popsicle that lists the “ingredients,” namely which waterway it came from. The popsicles, preserved in polyester resin, were arranged in a display in order from most polluted to least. The installation appeared in four Taipei galleries, including the Taipei World Trade Center, and now the university is considering putting it on permanent display in one of the campus museums.
The project generated plenty of attention, not just because of its aesthetics, but also because they demonstrate simply and clearly and without showing the murder of baby animals, the dangers of water pollution.
“We also normally wouldn’t pay attention,” student artist Hung Yi-chen told the LA Times. “We hope when more people see this they can change their lifestyles.”