With the heatwaves rolling through this summer, coupled by the oil spills in Mauritius only just days ago, it seems that this project from Hong Yi-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Zheng Yu-di gives us just a fraction of the taste of a problematic time we reside in.
The three Taiwanese students from National Taiwan University of the Arts created this collection of ice lollies from 100 different polluted water sources around the country. With incredible hues from sakura pinks to amber gold, the minimalist vision is a result of industrial dyes and chemicals pumped into the island’s waterways on a daily basis which give each popsicle its unique colour. It didn't stop there as some even included little dead fish, cigarette butts, bugs, dirt, and plastic trash such as wrappers and bottle tops. Almost like its very own ruined ecosystem frozen within time.
This hauntingly beautiful collection seemed to address a long-avoided reality of a consumerist society that we partake in. One of the students said that they felt that making a colourful and enticing wrapper for each popsicle would highlight the message that they were trying to get across. Although many of the world’s waters look clean at first glance, they often hide a grim truth; they are grossly polluted. Undeniably exacerbated by the role of corporations' irresponsible abuse of the environment around us. These fresh wrappers gave us a taste of a modern design that even Magnum would have difficulty competing with but much like our capitalist environment; no matter how much we cover up the surface with a clean and perfect facade, underneath lies a teeming swamp of undesirables. The cause and effects that can no longer be veiled. The ice melts so while they created the original popsicles traditionally using a mould and a freezer, they replicated them using resin which mirror the visuals of the originals.
Fragile, simple and beautiful, it seems that this graduate project turned environmental crusade did strike a chord with many as a perfect match for the global trend, bringing the three students critical acclaim from designers and artists throughout the world and even an exhibition at Taipei World Trade Centre’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017 and nomination for the Young Pin Design award. Hong explained that 'we had the idea because we believe that clean water resources are very important and that here in Taiwan and all over the world, pollution is a very serious issue.'
Melting ice caps, ever -growing problems of global water supply and now; in light of the recent events taking place in the Indian Ocean, this piece presents a romantic vision of the biggest issue that we now currently face. Single-handedly we are destroying the pristine home which provides for us at a dangerous speed. Dwindling water supplies and our lack of value for clean water can only be traced back to easy access to running water. Something which we can no longer take for granted.