Plastic Fantastic at 49th & Chancellor

September 23rd to October 17th, 2012

Project Description - Plastic Fantastic at 49th & Chancellor Streets

Plastic Fantastic is an immersive, nomadic environment for play, built from 6,000 postconsumer plastic water bottles on a 16-foot diameter geodesic dome. The dome serves as a centerpiece for organizing social relations. Inspirations include Fluxus, subRosa, the Yes Men, Creative Time, Yayoi Kusama, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and El Anatsui. Some of the places that Plastic Fantastic has lived are Salisbury University, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the Schuylkill Banks next to Fairmount Water Works at Art in the Open 2010.

For the community outreach for the 40th street Artist-in-Residence Program and the thirteenth iteration of Plastic Fantastic, in fall of 2012 we worked with block captain, Ms Coffee of the 4900 block of Chancellor Street, the residents and property owner John Cox to bring Plastic Fantastic as a public art project to a lot at the corner of 49th Street and Chancellor Streets. Recycling buckets for the blocks were donated by University City District. A new batch of water bottles was collected from friends, Planet Fitness, Bikram Yoga Philadelphia and United by Blue’s collection from Bartram’s Garden clean ups (note the more dirty bottles on the dome). Hector Medina’s Metal Shop contributed their time and skills to guide and make a new dome armature. Huey Community School students and neighborhood youth worked with me to transform the dome into public art. A group of West Philly high school students cut the plastic grid to fit the unusual shapes and add in more bottles to more fully cover the dome. A celebration of the finished dome was had with a party with grilled pineapple tortas by Raw Peas and sounds by Staco.

In mid-October, Plastic Fantastic was relocated to a highly trafficked area, for a two week visit at the Rotunda. After a hiatus post-Sandy, since early Spring 2013 Plastic Fantastic has enjoyed residency in the backyard of the 40th Street AirSpace, which had been previously cleared by the 2011-12 AirSpace residents. During this time, Upholstery developed the site specific theatrical production “Marvin & Mae (in a Sea of Plastic)”, a fantastical tale of loneliness and love told through puppets made entirely of plastic waste, that premiered at Plastique Cirque in May, and ran again on 8/9/13 for AIR Exchange.

Underpinning Plastic Fantastic are concerns about the politics of water, environmental issues, recycling, self-care, and equity. Plastic Fantastic creates possibility for social change through play, collectivity, community development and production. Through this process we improve our relationship with the everyday. Please “Feed the Dome” a positive message.

Plastique Cirque - May 2013


Ladies and Gentlemen, people of all ages, step right up! Plastic Fantastic, the nomadic immersive environment for play made of water bottles, is pleased to present Plastique Cirque Event and Exhibit at 40th Street AIR Space on Friday May 10th, 2013!

In this ambitious production, 40th Street AIR Space resident, Plastic Fantastic's Diedra Krieger curated performance artists Frog, J9, Julie's Hoolies, Kristen Bailey, Mary Wood, Pete Grauer, Rachel Brennesholtz, and Upholstery for the opening "Event" and nine visual artists Anna Perricci, Becky Schwartz, damali abrams, Jenn Rockwell, Kelly Anne, Sean Stoops, Shawn Beeks, Woodley White with her for an "Exhibition".

Play has an exceptional history in cultural production! Its trajectory is rooted in the history of '60s events, intermedia art and happenings, and follows contemporary collectives who use play as tactical media for interventions. Immersed in this history, Plastic Fantastic and its affiliates continue their search for ways to play as a form to act on serious concerns about plastic and water.

For the "Event" on Friday May 10th behind the 40th Street AIR Space building, in the Plastic Fantastic geodesic dome, performance artists, circus artists, and puppeteers united for an evening of escapades and ecstatic dystopias. Upholstery premiered "Marvin & Mae (in a sea of plastic)",

a fantastical tale of loneliness and love told through puppets made entirely of plastic waste. This original work featured music by Upholstery and puppeteers Kristen Bailey, Kate Black-Regan & C. Kennedy.

Plastic Fantastic's Plastique Cirque

Inside 40th Street AIR Space for the duration of the exhibition, Krieger's Meditative Play Tretrahedrons made of water bottle parts rise into White's prolific reproductions of bottles under Perricci's Tippler's planet, a chandelier made of hundreds of water bottles and LEDs. As Abrams and Kriegers' "Cartwheeling through Feminist Theory" loops, Rockwell's freak show leftovers are hidden amongst the bottles with Beeks' Grizzly Care Bears, figments of pop culture's imagination dumped into the context of a cold reality. Huey Schools After School Program' Earth Day project with Krieger will spiral around the Exhibit. In the second gallery Stoops' video mix on aquariums from the 1950s floated atop waves and waves of plastic pollution.

But wait there's more!

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Plastique Cirque
Event and Exhibition Friday May 10th, 6-10pm
Exhibition Hours: Saturday May 11th, 11am - 2pm; Fridays May 17th & 24th 5-8pm
40th Street AIR Space
4007 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Please join us to explore the sights and sounds featured in Plastique Cirque. For more information, contact playnicelets@gmail.com or 40streetair.blogspot.com. Viewing is also encouraged at alternate times by appointment.

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AIR Exchange | August 2013

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 Plastique Cirque Exhibition 2013     
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 Plastique Cirque Exhibition 2013     
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 Plastique Cirque Exhibition 2013   Shawn Beeks 
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 Plastique Cirque Exhibition   Play, neon sign 
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 49th & Chancellor 2012   Installing 
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 49th & Chancellor 2012   Huey School