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Reflections on my work with found plastic

The collating and sorting of plastic. The arranging of small pieces on shelves or a horizontal surface. They could be arranged in various different ways:

· By shape – say all round pieces

· By colour

· By type of thing – all buttons or all lids

Or as the tutors suggested:

· Things that are things in themselves eg buttons

· Things that are facsimiles of things eg toys

· Things that are fragments

The point is whichever way you sort and select things doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact they are selected whilst the rest remain unselected. This relates back to the chair installation. Two chairs excluded the third chair. It was isolated. Excluded. Like the excluded plastic pieces. Like the homeless. Like migrants. Like we all feel at some point when there is a group and we don’t seem to fit into it.

And the point of the plastic pieces and the numerous ways in which they can be reconfigured is that most human groups can be reconfigured to alter who is or isn’t within the selection.

Students at art college – I'm in

Female students at art college – I'm in

Female students at art college under thirty – I'm out

Female students at art college of British origin – I'm in

Female students at art college of British origin and BAME – I'm out

Female students at art college LGBTQ – I'm out

All plastic pieces. All chairs. All human beings

There is a link here with my interest in identity politics. How we define ourselves, and our identity. A process of selection and alignment with certain groups and rejections of others. Some may seem to have been determined for us: gender, sexuality, race, age. But we can decide how significant they are.

I am English, I am British, I am a European, I am a citizen of the world. We can identify with the largest most inclusive group, not the smallest most exclusive group if we chose. Then migrants/the homeless are not other, they are us but less fortunate.

So that’s what the small pieces of plastic are about. Inclusivity/exclusivity. Or as Derrida would have it the permeable states of inside and outside

My selections create hierarchies: collected pieces over pieces left in the street, pieces selected for display over those not displayed. At some point each of the individuals was selected because they aroused ‘intrinsic interest’ in me (Tate definition of the found object). Each has their own sort of beauty.

The pieces were rubbish. excluded.

Now they have been selected. A special favoured few. Exclusive.

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