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Building a model ecosystem out of mall trash

I love the idea of creating a model ecosystem using materials from another, entirely different ecosystem:

Fish made of bubble wrap swim beneath lily-covered ponds made of plastic bottles in Montreal’s Eaton Centre mall. Cardboard trees adorn the walls, and water, made of yet more empty bottles, pours down the sides of the escalators. ‘Fragile,’ a new installation by artists Peter Gibson (AKA Roadsworth) and Brian Armstrong, has transformed the mall into an ecosystem of discarded items found in the mall’s trash bins. The numbers are pretty astounding: Roughly 20,000 water bottles and more 10,000 square feet of cardboard was used to create the artificial landscape. (It took the artists about eight months of dumpster-diving to come up with all of that stuff.)

According to the artist’s statement, the Fragile ecosystem wasn’t intended to look or feel like a perfect copy of nature. Instead, its beauty lies in its artificiality, emphasizing the difference between the manufactured and natural worlds.

Read more: Canadian Artist Roadsworth Builds an Eco-System Out of Shopping Mall Trash | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.