Three Taiwanese artists turn contaminated water into frozen ‘treats’, showing us in a quirky yet educational way how our discarded waste may come back to haunt us.
In the hope of deterring water pollution, by drawing attention to the issue, Hong Yi-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Zheng Yu-di from National Taiwan University of the Arts, created an incredible ‘inedible’ design project from polluted water . What started as a graduation project, making popsicles with water sourced from polluted waterways, grew into a bigger campaign creating a social media sensation.
The idea behind creating these quirky inedible popsicles stems from the artists belief that clean water resources are very important, and that pollution is a very serious global problem. The three, then students, set about making those statement polluted treats with water taken from 100 different polluted water sources around Taiwan. They created a series of popsicles, each unique in colour as a result of industrial dyes and chemicals pumped into the island’s waterways. Many included an additional ‘bonus surprise’, such as dead fish, cigarette butts, bugs, dirt, and plastic trash such as wrappers and bottle tops.
The trio then followed conventional product design and sale strategies by wrapping the popsicles in colourful packaging, mirroring the aesthetics of trending artisanal foods. The provenance of the water source was stated alongside the less appetizing ingredients.
To ensure longevity, they later created replicas using clear resin which looked the same but would last forever, making them ideal for exhibition displays and private collections.
Through the power of creative design and marketing, ‘100% Polluted Water Popsicles‘ opens the discussion on how we treat our natural resources and brings the topic of water pollution to the tips of our tongues. Though unconventional, the project aims to inspire people to generate less waste and encourages us to rethink what we’re discarding into the natural environment, as our waste may well come back to haunt us.