At a distance, this brightly lit Christmas tree looks like just another festive holiday installation—but take a closer look and you'll see that the incredible structure is actually made from 2,000 plastic bags! The nearly 20-foot-tall Consumerist Christmas Tree was designed by the anonymous Madrid-based arts group Luzinterruptus and is located at a high-traffic roundabout in the English city of Stoke-on-Trent. Built with the help of the local community, the temporary art installation symbolizes the overconsumption of plastic bags and brings attention to how hyper-consumerism is increasingly replacing the religious and traditional meanings of the holiday season.
This December marks the second year in a row that Luzinterruptus has installed the Consumerist Christmas Tree. The first installation in 2013 had been located in the English city of Durham for the Lumiere Festival. Like last year, the designers reached out to the local community to donate shopping bags and participate in assembling and attaching the bags to a prefabricated tree structure. All of the donated bags, which came in various sizes and colors, could be traced back to around 15 local franchises.
The Consumerist Christmas Tree took 11 days to complete—7 days were dedicated to community workshops and an extra 4 days were for installation. The designers and volunteers stuffed the 2,000 donated bags with recycled plastic from nearby businesses to give the bags their globular shape. The temporary art installation will stay up for a month until the end of the holidays.