Plastic as art? The entire grocery store created from discards

A grocery store offering thousands of fake foods made entirely from discarded plastic bags opens to the public Tuesday, an artist’s inedible creation drawing attention to the dangers of plastic waste.

The Plastic Bag Shop is a bespoke public art installation and cinematic experience designed to encourage visitors to think more about the lasting impact of single-use plastics.

The store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has shelves packed with items like meat, eggs and pastries, all made with single-use plastics scooped up from streets and landfills.

The store will be transformed at times throughout the day into a set for a series of short films using puppets and handmade props to tell a story of the dangers of plastic waste and the consequences for future generations.

As the program’s tagline says: “Partial installation. Partial movie. All the bags.

Plastic bags are created by fossil fuels and often end up as waste in landfills and oceans.

Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags each year, according to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organization based in Washington, DC.

Film and theater director Robin Frohardt is the creative force behind Plastic Bag Store.

“I came up with the idea many years ago after watching someone pack, double and triple pack my groceries,” Frohardt said Tuesday. “I was a bit surprised by the ridiculous amount of packaging involved in our daily lives.

“And it seemed so absurd. I just thought, ‘Maybe I could do a project that’s even more absurd. ”

The store’s shelves are lined with items whose names are meant to mimic real-life products like “Yucky Shards” (Lucky Charms), “Bitz of Plastic Crap” (Ritz Crackers), “Bagemite” (Vegemite), and “Filthydelphia roll.” . (Philadelphia roll).

One product that Frohardt did not have to modify was baguettes, “because it was already in the name,” he said with a laugh.

The plastic bag shop, which will be open through February 5, is presented through a partnership between the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the University Musical Society, the University of Michigan Arts Initiative, Michigan and the Graham Institute of Sustainability.

Tickets are $30 for general admission. Student tickets are $12.

The show opened in Times Square in 2020. Since then it has made stops in Los Angeles; chicago; Austin, Texas; and Adelaide, Australia.

“I hope that we can continue to tour this project and bring it to different communities,” said Frohardt, who is based in New York. “My dream would be for this project to become irrelevant.

“But it probably won’t be.”