Tag Archives: Consumption

Barbies Don’t Grow on Trees

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Inspired by the Prix Pictet photography competitions’ theme of consumption this year I set about creating an installation of my own. The Barbie doll is the perfect metaphor for the consumerist society we live in, not only is it synonymous with our pursuit of physical and material perfection but it signifies consumption on so many levels. One Barbie doll is sold every three seconds somewhere in the world and over 1 Billion dolls have been produced and sold worldwide since 1959. Making the Barbie doll an emblem of global capitalism with its disciples being the biggest guilt free mass consumers of all – children. Children use and dispose of goods on a massive scale with complete ignorance of the consequences. The toy of the moment is quickly replaced by the new flavour of the month and simply disregarded in favour of the next. This conspicuous consumption cycle is becoming more and more rapid and the plastic just keeps piling up. A Barbie doll is made out of ABS plastic and the head is made from soft PVC plastic and therefore doesn’t biodegrade. So all of these billions of Barbies already sold are still here and yet more still being produced daily. I want to illustrate issues of environmental sustainability through this installation and as I continue to photograph the tree through the seasons one can reflect on the changeability of nature and the permanence of plastic. barbie barbie barbie barbie barbie barbiebarbie barbie   As I set about on my quest to fill the tree with Barbies, I had no idea how easy it would be to amass these dolls. It took me only 2 weeks of scouring car boot sales to collect 72 unloved and unwanted dolls. Now looking back, going to a car boot sale was actually ironic as they are an unintentional sustainability practice, which recycles and extends the life cycle of products. Prix Pictet is at the V&A until the 14th June