This year at The International Surface Event (TISE), Mohawk unveiled an interactive art installation by Brooklyn-based artist Basia Goszczynska to help attendees visualize the true impact of plastic in the world’s waterways. Made almost entirely from recycled and upcycled materials and the different components that comprise Mohawk carpeting, “Overflow” will demonstrate how thoughtful product design, innovation and sustainability in the flooring industry is reducing the waste stream.
The installation will help tell Mohawk’s bottle recycling story through the lens of its recently announced support of The Ocean Cleanup, and the important work being done from Atlantic to Pacific and beyond. “Overflow” was positioned near the VIP entrance to the exhibits at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, January 28–30.
“’Overflow’ draws attention to the importance for us to take responsibility for our waste,” said Goszcynska. “Because humanity and our technologies have evolved so rapidly, the rest of nature is having a difficult time adapting. If we hope to provide future generations with a habitable planet, it’s crucial that we, as individuals, communities, companies and governments, all work to reduce and transform the waste that we produce. By inviting participation in the work, I hope to encourage that sense of agency and responsibility in my audience.”
The work serves as a “canary in a coal mine,” warning about what will become of the world’s oceans if humankind fails to take responsibility for its waste. Commissioned by Mohawk FIooring North America, and built using materials sourced from its Summerville, Georgia recycling facility, “Overflow” incorporates the various stages of transformation that single-use plastic bottles undergo during the manufacturer’s patented Continuum recycling process: from bottles, to flakes, to pellets, to filament, and finally to EverStrand and EnviroStrand carpeting. By inviting audience participation and interaction—viewers are invited to contribute their single-use plastic bottles to the sculpture and/or lounge on the sculpture’s carpeted beach—the work acknowledges the role and responsibility of every individual and company. The artist will be onsite at Surfaces engaging with guests along the beach, answering questions about the piece and the creative process inspired by the rising tide of issues caused by plastic products.
“Ultimately, I hope to shift perceptions about our waste, and plastic in particular, from something that is abject and easily discarded, into something that is precious and worthy of our attention,” added the artist. “I was excited to take on this project because it provided me with an opportunity to work with plastic bottles for the first time. As an artist interested in waste management and environmental issues, it was a thrill to see the fascinating process that salvaged plastic bottles undergo to become beautiful carpeting at Mohawk’s recycling plant.”
Goszczynska explores environmental and waste issues through a variety of mediums including sculpture, installation, performance, social practice and new media. Her work explores humankind’s relationship with waste and nature and aims to help those who experience it reconsider and reimagine the value of discarded objects. Goszczynska received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has also received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as the Ray Stark Film Prize.
To explore the artist, her philosophy and body of work, visit BasiaGoszczynska.com. To learn more about Mohawk and its commitment to believe in better sustainability and corporate social responsibility, visit MohawkSustainability.com.