Environment Bag

A handbag, constructed out of a painted floral canvas, contains an inner bag of garden compost and seaweed, referencing organic elements that uphold human survival. Together these components question the cost of human status to ecology. The format of a desirable statement handbag was deliberately provocative and misleading and reenacts an acerbic iteration of Stephen Willats' - Environment Box (1963).

Willats' explored the capacity of art to motivate people to 'note and renegotiate their perceptions of reality', and made the Environment Box [Willats working drawing is reproduced below] to 'expand the phenomenological and participatory parameters of the art experience through immersive, multi-channel chambers in which the viewer was responsible for tripping the switches of sensory stimulation (including, significantly, the extra-ocular stuff of texture and odour).' [1] The Environment Bag was presented then as a form for viewers to consider the desirable outward appearance of the statement handbag and the

contemporary perception of its relation to a 'woman’s status, fashion savvy and earning power'.[2] While the co-relation of the inner bag's organic contents are perceived as less valuable despite them being the underpinning, environmental fact of human existence. As expected, the invitation to investigate the bag was readily engaged with, while the discovery of its contents were received with disgust.

[1]Networking https://frieze.com/article/networking

[2] ‘Oh, honey! It’s not so much the style, it’s what carrying it means’: Hermès bags and the transformative process https://doi.org/10.1386/fspc.1.1.81_1

 © 2020 by Laura Donkers

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