beads, plastic bag 2018

Ssimilation refers to both simulation and assimilation while being neither. The hand beaded high density polyethylene shopping bag is a meeting of technologies, and cultures. The bag itself is the most fragile part of the work, easily pierced and rendered garbage without the possibility of reuse. Polyethylene bags balance delicately on the edge of usefulness. So completely removed from their natural gas and petroleum derived origins underground, they are unable to return. Altered on a molecular level through polymerization, what is produced remains precariously useful until it’s form is broken; a reflection of consumerism, colonization of materials and elements within land. The beadwork, made up of thread and glass, will outlast the bag’s functionality. Through attachment to the bag the beadwork offers the possibility of saving it from being discarded, unable to decompose for reincarnation. The plastic cannot stand in for the hide of Deer, Elk, Moose or Buffalo, and it is still here. Beading it calls attention to the fragility and persistence of the origins of it’s making, mirroring the fragility and persistence of the cultures producing and consuming it.

Merritt Johnson

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