BRING ME FLOWERS - Installation at Milan Design Week

Are traditions eternal? Or are some of them just outdated and in desperate need of reform? 

Our project, BRING ME FLOWERS, aims to question the authority of traditions that direct our habits, like bringing flowers to the graves of our deceased loved ones. Even though this act may come off as a way of paying respect to those dear to us, there’s no debating that leaving plastic-wrapped flowers on cemeteries adds to the ever-growing pollution issue.

While going around graveyards to grasp the full scale of the problem, we were exposed to a lot of devastating images - for instance, we came across a lot of old graves with no flowers but tons of leftover wrapping material. We also talked to the cemetery staff and found out that layers of plastic wrapping are buried along with the coffins. People who frequently visit the graves of their loved ones leave all of their litter on neighboring abandoned graves, etc. 

Identifying this problem doesn’t stop at the actual littering - a huge part of the issue is the low level of awareness about the harm plastic causes to the environment. Since bringing flowers to the graves is a sacred tradition in Georgia, people rarely pay attention to its long-lasting effects on the world. Even worse - the bigger the bouquet and bigger the wrapping, the more people demand and buy it. This narrative adds to the already severe reality - flowers decompose in a few days, while plastics can take 20-500 years to decompose, depending on their structure and material. Layers of plastic get buried in the ground, causing the fertility and overall quality of the

soil to deteriorate, plastic gets scattered across the graveyards, making it harder for the caretakers of cemeteries to thoroughly clean the area, which results negatively on the ecology of the country. The plastic recycling system is not flawlessly organized in Georgia, so plastic doesn’t get properly decontaminated. We believe that tackling this problem starts with raising awareness about the matter and visually informing society about the dangerous effects of massively bringing flowers to the graves.

To showcase the impact plastic wrapping has on the environment, our team scouted the graveyards of Tbilisi and hand-picked the wrappings of flowers that visitors of the graves left behind. This process was even more eye-opening for us since we couldn’t grasp the full level of pollution in the cemeteries before. After collecting the material for our exposition, we cleaned the plastic and turned these wrappings into flowers. We believe that plastic flowers symbolize the faux values behind this tradition and the fact that bringing plastic-wrapped flowers to the graves does well for no one except our own conscious. We hope that our project can retarget the sense of consciousness towards doing good for the world - by abolishing this tradition or using alternatives to plastic, we can create a better quality of life for ourselves.

BRING ME FLOWERS has been nominated as a finalist of Guiltless Plastic contest, and will be presented at Milan Design Week 2023, at Palazzo Bandello, from April 17-23.

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