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Coming Together and Falling Apart

No matter what we do to hold ourselves together, the truth is that we are always falling apart. –Sakyong Mipham Rimpoche

For several months I collected plastic straws, zip ties, construction debris- various disregarded items, from downtown Tulsa. These colorful bits remain from the many festivities and happenings in the Blue Dome and Arts Districts. Wind and water carry the lightweight particles across streets and parking lots, until they accumulate by curbs and near fences along the railroad tracks.

At a glance, this detritus may read as blight, however it’s also evidence of gatherings, conversations, and growth in our city. These materials exist from thousands of years of human innovation and technology. They’re made from ingredients mined from the earth. They’re also becoming inherently present within every ecosystem, as well as within our own bodies.

Plastic makes our lives easier in many ways, and allows us to experience many ‘conveniences’ associated with consumer society. My long-term relationship using plastic as an art-making medium is an ongoing attempt to understand the complexities of this petroleum-based substance and the effects it has on the planet.

In April 2019, Oklahoma Governor, Kevin Stitt, passed a pre-emptive ban, on banning disposable plastic bags. Thankfully, this law doesn’t prevent individuals from refusing to use them. We can choose to make more conscientious decisions that will positively impact our current communities and those of the future.

Individual choices and moments weave together into an interconnected web of life. Minute by minute, the cosmic mirror reflects these choices back to us. While many corporate policies choose to ignore their own reflections, we do not have to be so myopic. Nothing is held in isolation.