The summer heat often has us reaching for something sweet – whether it be a glass of lemonade, an ice cream cone, or a popsicle. But a group of art students in Taiwan have put together a strange collection of summer treats to raise awareness for a growing problem.
Collecting sewage water from all over Taiwan, Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, three students from the National Taiwan University of Arts, turned the sewage water into “popsicles” for a project entitled “Polluted Water Popsicles.”
Visiting dozens of locations across Taiwan, Hung and her team collected samples of water containing all sorts of contaminants, including dirt, bugs, plant material, and even trash. Hung placed the samples in a freezer to produce the “popsicles,” and encased the unusual treats in a polyester resin to preserve the samples.
At first glance, the popsicles are visually pleasing. Once the viewer moves closer, however, it becomes easy to identify mold, bits of plastic, bottle caps, and even wrappers. The carefully crafted aesthetic of Hung’s work conceals the destruction caused by pollution.
Hung’s team also designed wrappers for each popsicle, concocting a “flavor” named after the source where the sample (and waste) was collected.
Hung said she hopes Polluted Water Popsicles will help raise awareness about water pollution, which is a large problem in Taiwan. Hung added that the popsicle motif was chosen because they are translucent, and because popsicles are associated with something sweet, not something as unsavory as pollution.
According to an article in designboom, “each popsicle reveals the impressive contamination of the water through their wasteful flavors complete with plastic, metal, arsenic, mercury, and other harmful materials. The project generates a polarity between how good they look, how awful they may taste, and how damaging they are.”
All in all, Hung’s team made 100 popsicles. They recently put Polluted Water Popsicles on display at an art exhibition in Taipei, the capitol of Taiwan.