Comprised of hundreds of recycled water bottles Watermark is the creative outcome of the HIT THE BOTTLE collaboration between 1233 ABC Newcastle, Hunter Water and Newcastle Art Gallery. Inspired by the 1233 ABC Breakfast team, radio listeners received a non-plastic refillable water bottle for every five plastic bottles delivered to the ABC’s Newcastle headquarters.
Sydney-based Jane Gillings and Townsville-based Alison McDonald, along with a small team of dedicated volunteers, have transformed the bottles over just four days, into this sculptural installation. Both artists specialise in working with recycled materials, with plastic being their preferred medium. The marine creatures that make up this unnatural reef are crafted using scissors, a heat gun and cable ties.
Each year Australians, who have unlimited access to clean and safe drinking water, buy more than 300 million bottles of water. The production of these bottles generates greenhouse gases and unnecessary pollution. Some of the used bottles end up in the ocean and are consumed by whales, turtles and seabirds who mistake the bottles for food. Others end up trapped in a giant whirlpool of plastic detritus in the northern Pacific Ocean, twice the size of the American continent, known as Pacific plastic soup. By titling this installation Watermark the artists are drawing our attention to the mark we leave on the planet and asking us to re-think our water consumption.
Artist-assistants: Bree Sanders, Angela Scrymgour, Lisa Slade, Len Tesoriero and Cy, Morgana, Shen and Silva Osaki.