A sustainable message with confronting Christmas installation

Today, on the 6th of December 2016, the City Council of Amsterdam will open the remarkable exposition ‘Winter Wonder Wasteland’ at the Stopera in Amsterdam. The goal of the exposition is to gain attention and create awareness about trash floating around Amsterdam, on land, in the canals and in the IJ River. The playful but confronting Christmas installation is part of the project ‘Amsterdam Schoon’ (Amsterdam Clean Water) that was established last year.

With this project, the City Council of Amsterdam started a new method to manage trash during busy events, like Kingsday and the Europride. By handling a more flexible and successful approach this year, the city of Amsterdam was almost completely clean within 24 hours after the event. To celebrate the year’s end in a special way, the city reached out to the Plastic Soup Foundation, in collaboration with the English artist duo Dirty Beach, to build Winter Wonder Wasteland with trash collected from Amsterdam’s canals and IJ river.

From Tuesday the 6th of December until Friday the 6th of January 2017 the public of Amsterdam can witness what kind of trash is floating around the city’s waters. Dirty Beach and the Plastic Soup Foundation use all kinds of visual tricks to make us aware of our behavior: a prestigious lay out, enticing jingles and a remarkable illumination. All collected waste has been cleaned and relabeled with well-known brands, like Lays Chips, Red Bull, Spa, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Heineken. In addition, some typical Amsterdam products like bicycle saddles, have been converted to festive Christmas decorations.

The Christmas tree is an ironical parody of the pollution of our world. The artist duo McCurdy and Hansky are asking themselves: “All the plastic packaging we throw away immediately just after one-time use, aren’t they really just the emperor’s new clothes?” They continue: “Are we sacrificing our fossil fuels way too easy, without considering the far-reaching consequences of all that plastic to marine life, the food chain and even our own planet? What is the true cost of packaging? What damage does it really cause?”

Emiel de Booij, urban project leader of ‘Amsterdam Schoon’ adds: “We are very happy with this unique attraction in the Stopera, but of course also with the results we achieved in 2016. Part of the success lies in the cooperation with external parties working towards the same goal to create more general support. During the EuroPride for example, we have been working closely together with the covenant ‘Clean Waters in and around Amsterdam’ (Schone wateren in en rond Amsterdam), where forces have joined within the plastic chain to achieve cleaner waters in and around the city.”