Plastic-free Biennale has a whole bunch of moving puzzle pieces. Some of them are very “grown-up” looking, like meeting with the Board of Directors of the Biennale of Sydney (to urge them to update their environmental policy) or researching the science and history of plastic.
But other aspects of the project are pure fun, and allow an alternative way for our audience to engage with the complex world of plastics. For example, Kim Williams wrote a brilliant and ridiculously catchy song called “Plastic in the House” which we recorded with some local Wollongong kids.
The song emerged from our process of creating a “concrete poem” as an inventory of all the plastic stuff in our houses. (Read more about the concrete poem here). While the poem was a graphic representation of the overwhelming abundance of plastic in our everyday lives, Kim’s song uses tempo to generate a growing sense of sonic overwhelm.
Here’s Kim talking about the song:
“Plastic in the house” is a musical audit of everyday household items made from plastic. The ubiquity and utility of plastic in our lives is apparent through a growing list, from toothbrushes to wheelie bins, from pegs to laptops. Gradually the list becomes overwhelming for the narrator; the song gathers pace and the images jump quickly from one object to the next, reaching a crescendo and coming to a quiet, unsettling end.
In early January we went into a local recording studio with audio engineer Ben Davies from Silver Sound. Here’s Kim with some of the kids in the sound proof booth:
…and Ben the sound engineer doing a mix for us:
After we got the recording done, the group got together at Kim’s place in Port Kembla with Morgan and Sam from Wayward Films to shoot the music video.
By this stage Hazel, Harper, Albie, and Elkie (with Elkie’s very patient big brother Jarvis) had decided to call their group The Plastic Highlighters. You can see their band photo / album cover here:
And here are a few production shots from the music video shoot:
The Plastic Highlighters were very proud of themselves for having a go at a particularly tricky line of the song which is in Spanish language! Here’s a short clip of them shooting this bit for the music video:
Plastic in the House is now up on the Plastic Highlighters’ YouTube Channel!
It will also be featured in our exhibition at the Biennale of Sydney at Cockatoo Island. And a live performance of the song featuring the Plastic Highlighters will happen at our Pop Up Wash Up! event at Cockatoo Island on Saturday May 30th.
Oh, and by the way, we also played the song at the very Grown-up and Important Meeting of the Sydney Biennale’s Board of Directors! (They loved it of course).