For the first project at Kingston University we were asked to create a significant “thing” to represent the borough. I instantly pushed my group to do something on the living conditions of the swans that live on the nearby River Thames.
And by chance some Kingston University students were, with help from a local scuba team, hauling out shopping trolleys that had been dumped in the river. More than twenty trolleys were retrieved, all full of junk and all transformed from their shiny industrial finishes into what appears to be curious pieces of coral. The silver colouring had gone and these strong earth greens and rusts took over.
Along the river you can also see where the swans have made magnificent nests with crisp packets, plastic bags and other floating pieces of litter, perhaps a little organic material but not much.
We made a mural representing this side of Kingston, including the thuggish nightlife who’d think nothing of pushing each other around in stolen supermarket trolleys and dumping them into the river for a bit of a laugh. We composed this elegant swan made only from cardboard and toilet tissue paper nesting in pollution, the end result has quite a significant shock value.
My favourite part of the project is the tiny little maquette I made which still hangs in my bedroom.