Last Poem of the Plastic Cup

Ka-man Lam

Full Scale Computational Media  l Prof. Marc Böhlen, Johannes Deich l University at Buffalo l Spring 2016

What if waste has its own destiny? What would a most insignificant plastic cup want to express? What is it to care about the afterlife of one-time disposable objects?

The piece stages imaginative life cycle of disposable waste, thus extending our care about their afterlife. Drinks are served in disposable cups made in shrinkable plastic sheets. A miniature coffee table in the form of an anonymous black box, shaped to a column’s shadow, creates a place for drama and anticipation. As one sits close to ground and anchors the cup to the black box with a lead, extracts from T.S. Eliot’s poem “Little Gidding” will be projected on miniature black notebooks which serves as a tangible interface; otherwise projection will be unrecognizable on a mysterious, reflective black surface. The act of anchoring the cup in will simultaneously activate a heating system, thermos-transforming the cup into a dense mass which holds the lead – an unexpected existence as an imperfect pencil.