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Art

In Madrid, there’s a ‘labyrinth’ made entirely out of plastic waste

‘Luzinterruptus’, the anonymous Spanish art collective, has put up a labyrinth of plastic waste in the middle of Madrid’s famous Plaza Mayor.

Made as part of the city’s 4th Centennial Celebration of Plaza Mayor, the installation features a 170-metre long, three-metre high maze that snakes around the statue of King Philip III. Its walls are made from 15,000 plastic bottles, most of which were collected from universities, hospitals, and other institutions over the course of a month.

According to the group, the labyrinth contains “intricate path and narrow passages which forces visitors to keep turning.” And with the summer heat bearing down on the artwork, the stench made it even more disorienting for visitors wandering inside.

“We thought it was paramount that the piece didn’t look friendly,” said Luzinterruptus. “Quite on the contrary, our intention was to make the public feel certain discomfort when entering it.”

The Labyrinth

The labyrinth is an extension of a similar project the group did in Poland in 2014 – albeit this one’s on a larger and more claustrophobic scale.

With the demand for plastics expected to double in the next two decades, the group hopes that “things change soon” and we all take action before it’s all too late.

We recently caught up with the anonymous art collective to know more about their work. Check it out:

Plastic waste

Where’d you get the inspiration for a labyrinth made of garbage?

“We try to be always up to date with issues related to ecology and our environment. The massive use of plastic in our daily life is a problem that we’ve been interested to showcase from the very first of our big installations.

“We are really concerned about the quantity of plastic we consume. If you look closely, mostly everything that we buy comes wrapped in plastic and sometimes the wrapping itself occupies more than the product itself. Most times, the recycling process is badly done or not done at all.

“There is little awareness about these issues and in many countries there are not even action protocols to follow for recycling, which ends up with tons of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean in the shape of gigantic plastic islands that are killing the ocean’s ecosystem.”

A girl running through the labyrinth

What was the most difficult part of the project? Was it collecting 15,000 plastic bottles, building the labyrinth, or something else?

“Clearly, the most difficult part was collecting the plastic bottles. In Spain, we don’t have yet a recycling culture installed, the vast majority of people does not recycle at all.

“Another problem was that here PET does not come separated from the rest of containers, so we had to create a very complicated logistic to be able to collect the bottles by contacting directly with neighbors and local companies and asking them to donate the bottles before they threw them away.”

An artist fixing the installation

How did people react to the installation?

“We were very happy to see that people was understanding the installation pretty easily, without further complications. Adults and kids were able to get the message we wanted to deliver behind our powerful aesthetic proposal. They could see our spirit of reivindication underlying beneath it.

“The heat during those days in Madrid helped generate a sensation of discomfort that increased the understanding of the piece. We are really glad with all the discussions generated and also with the talks of the visitors during the installation.”

Visitors wandering inside the labyrinth

What’s next for you?

“We’ll continue working with recycled plastics. Next stop is Las Vegas and then Bordeaux. In both cities we’ll work with plastic bags donated by neighbors. At the end of October we’ll be back in Madrid and we’ll be working with bottles again. This time we are going to need 60,000 of them. It is going to be a huge challenge.”

The labyrinth

To know more about ‘Luzinterruptus’ and their work, head on over here.

Via Design Boom

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