Gargantua is a site-specific installation composed entirely of repurposed materials. The piece portrays my infant son’s outsized ecological impact by composing a Levee Sanders silhouette and the surrounding landscape using packing materials from gifts sent to the boy. As parents, my wife and I tried to be as environmentally responsible as possible. We use cloth diapers and hang them to dry. We make most of Levee’s food from local produce. We walk nearly everywhere. Despite these green choices, Levee’s carbon footprint is still pretty big. Our nearest family lives five hours away, and we have friends around the country, who all wanted to help with gifts for the baby. All of those presents had to be wrapped, boxed, and shipped. As a result we had a garage full of packing materials. The Levee silhouette is composed of cardboard, showing how his impact is significant but repairable (recyclable). The surrounding installation mimics the interior of landfills. Strata composed of styrofoam and other shipping detritus will remain as archeological evidence of human activity for millennia. A crocheted smog cloud hangs over cardboard Levee, dropping acid rain made from plastic grocery bags to illustrate the cause and effect of fossil fuel consumption.
This piece is based loosely on Daumier’s political cartoon, “Gargantua”, depicting an immense, obese king being fed taxes by the citizenry and excreting new oppressive laws. Here, the massive Levee leaves trash and chaos in his wake.