On the Ground started as a project to help myself deal with the massive amounts of trash (usually consumables) scattered and endlessly fluttering, seemingly unnoticed, throughout the streets of Philadelphia. I wanted a way to show the scale of the problem as well as the amplification from one small personal item to the tons of trash that fill our streets, waterways and landfills. In order to do this I created certain parameters to keep the project in check as well as give it form:
How: Cell phone. This allows a certain level of discreetness and freedom
What: Essentially anything on the ground. At this time the project is only focused within my immediate environment in North Philadelphia.
Why: To help myself deal with the frustration of the myriad of thoughtless and ignorant ways we, as humans, deal with the environment and hopefully give an interesting take on the problem for everyone else.
When: Usually when walking my dog, Memphis. I usually play it like a game, looking for colors themes, interesting patterns, repetitions or like products. It usually starts with a couple items that seem to follow a pattern and then I follow this pattern for the rest of the walk or until the batteries run out on the phone!
I break it down into workable units or “SQUARES": The images are arranged together thematically (color harmony, like objects, subject matter, etc.) There are 9 images to a group at a size of 24”x24”. These can be printed individually to highlight the themes in the SQUARES through color harmony or like products. For example, the cigarette brand NEWPORT is the most littered brand in the area in which I live by a huge margin. This has interesting social implications while bringing the SQUARES together thematically. The SQUARES can also be printed in a banner form consisting of mixed items put together emphasizing the magnitude of the problem.
Individual SQUARES should be framed (thin frame, no mat) then hung side by side and top to bottom, filling the existing walls emphasizing the amount of detritus in my small section of Philadelphia. While the SQUARES work better indoors, the banners work well in a outdoor environment.
So far ON THE GROUND has amassed close to 200 SQUARES, 10 banners and over 15,000 photos!