Cities with hydrogen and oxygen

By Abu Lido

Cities are invaded by nature, by organic matter. Grown for centuries under earth, the organic, black, stinking and archaic crude oil – pure nature — has got a total make-up: it has turned itself into a polymer, a bottle. A plastic one.

Plastic has got a single blood group, a single family tree, a common founder: oil. It’s the biggest family group in the world. It doesn’t change, doesn’t get older, doesn’t become wiser either: it’s pure nature still living outside the subsoil and it’s called in many different ways: PET, PETE, PETP or PET-P. It helps and supports the most recent family group, human beings: it lives inside their refrigerators, it travels with them on trains and in airplanes, it is the most popular star performing in mini bars and hotels.

Once turned into plastic, nature seize cities as the protagonist of the metropolis. Admired by everybody, it dwells in contemporary art museums, being the natural partner for art installations. Before entering the Metropolitan Museum we are informed that: “water in plastic bottles may be brought into the Museum”; nature is a usual visitor, but it doesn’t have to pay the entrance ticket and it needs no passport to enter and exit. A true star!

It’s the raw material used for the work of art, it’s the absolute protagonist of all recycling performances, it lends its body to the artist so that he/she can manufacture, create, express himself/herself with pure nature. Here an example: at pier 15 waterfront esplanade the San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum showcases the extraordinary of the ordinary with its exhibition and installations dedicated to the environment and to natural sciences. An arch made of 24 plastic columns, three metres high and partly filled with water dominates the entrance. The water level in these 24 columns, representing the 24 hours, is adjusted through the air pressure that makes them move in sync with the sea ahead so that ebb and flow occur inside the plastic columns exactly as it happens in open water.

Humanity is obsessed with nature. Maybe half of all the works of art in museums is dedicated to nature. Natural history museums are everywhere, but to mankind the polymers’ family has never been the protagonist of natural history. It’s not an idea, it’s not a subject, it hasn’t got any face or eyes: it’s an inexpressive nature, without life for art.



1. Bird by Alexander Calder – Take a closer look: it’s a bird
2. Picture by Helio Coelho Rio de Janeiro, 2012 – Look at it again, it’s a fish
3. A close-up of artist – Is this your stepmother staring at you?
4. The wedding dress, Michelle Brand – Is this the party dress of aunt Pina?

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