Touchmarks: The Social Life of Plastic Baskets is a cultural and artistic investigation of a transnational object: the plastic basket. The intention in use for a plastic basket could be for ordering one’s daily detritus. However, the function calculated in the knowledge of production may be, and is often times, re-imagined as it is consumed. The ‘social life’ acquired through an object’s production, consumption, and domestication is reflected in the reinvention of use and meaning as an object crosses cultural borders and is exchanged within new contexts.
Cheap, accessible, and ubiquitous, plastic baskets epitomize our utilitarian reality. The plastic woven pattern, as simulacrum to the handicraft of basketry, evokes a longing for that which the hand once crafted. Each object in Touchmarks: The Social Life of Plastic Baskets is cast from fragments of plastic baskets. Re-appropriating the woven pattern as third generation to its handicraft source, wicker to plastic to pewter, challenges assumptions of what is ‘real’ and ‘authentic’. These re-appropriated objects begin to reclaim the space between what is lost and what is re-invented in relation to notions of authenticity, labor, production, history, and craft.