Turning 65,000 Used CDs Into Giant Shimmering Lily Pads

The demise of the compact disc already seems like ancient history, but the object’s obsolescence is particularly frustrating: Unlike vinyl records, CDs don’t age well, and their plastic cases look tacky on shelves. The artist Bruce Munro has found new use for your old Ace of Base album: turning 65,000 CDs into 100 enormous floating lily pads.

To create Waterlilies for his show Light at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the artist drew on two inspirations:

“First to C.S. Lewis’s book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which depicts a sea of white lilies that signifies the border between two worlds, and second to a Georgia O’Keeffe painting that shows a clear blue Arizona sky populated by abstracted clouds receding from the bottom to the top edge of the canvas.”

It’s not the first time Munro has worked with CDs–also see his CD Sea installation in the U.K.–but as Jennifer Mills of the Creators Project notes, whereas much of Munro’s other work incorporates LED lighting, this installation relies on the natural light of the Sun (and the reflective surfaces of the discs) to create its bright effects, which means that depending on the time of day that you view the lilies, you’ll see different colors and experience a new aesthetic.

Eventually, every one of the 65,000 discs will be recycled. Let’s hope the same can be said for the millions more collecting dust in towers and shelves around the world. But first, maybe you’ll want to make some art out of them.