Squint your eyes, and you almost can’t tell the difference between Wastescape, a sprawling art installation by Gayle Chong Kwan, and the sculptured interior of an ice cave. Kwan, a British artist, achieved the illusion by covering the walls and ceiling of London’s Hayward Gallery in thousands of empty milk bottles.
Wastescape was inspired by Moravia, a neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia, built on the city’s garbage dump and known for its copious recycling businesses. According to Frame:
The playfulness of the installation is contrasted with a deeper reflexion of the modern urban development, urging us to reconsider the role of waste materials. To emphasize this more critical aspect, there is a soundtrack in the background of people discussing this problem.
Wastescape is one of about a dozen outdoor landscapes commissioned for the Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World, a massive art extravaganza that includes everything from robots climbing up a gallery wall to a giant baobab tree sculpture made from fabric found around the globe. The festival continues through September 9.