It's August, 2021. In 1000 years, we will be distant memories, consumed by the earth. But our plastic waste will still be intact. That means if we wrote a message on a grocery bag now our great, great, great grandchildren could read it, provided they haven't been swallowed up by an ocean of plastic already.
That's the kinda sweet but mostly depressing premise behind a non-profit art project—designed and conceived by Vietnam-based creative agency Ki Saigon—that seeks to ameliorate the world's plastic crisis by turning waste into thoughtful letters.
It began with a group of like-minded people within the agency, who set about asking their friends to write a letter to their great, great, great, grandchildren. Over the span of four months, they collected 327 letters from 22 countries.
They then teamed up with local recyclers to source plastic bags, Styrofoam boxes, bubble wrap and various types of plastic sheets that would form the base material of the letters. Collected plastics were ironed in between Teflon/baking paper to fuse them together.
Each letter was scanned, turned into silkscreens and individually hand-printed on each page, preserving the original handwriting of the author. The letters were hand-bound together between recycled plastic sheets to form a book that would last 1000 years.
Ki Saigon said 'Letters to the future' was designed to evoke a visceral reaction. It is both beautiful and ugly at the same time, mirroring the duality of human nature—our desire to make the world a better place for future generations, while we simultaneously destroy the earth with non-biodegradable waste.
"The book on one hand shows optimism, hope and compassion for the future of the planet. On the other hand, it shows the everlasting detriment of our actions when it comes to single-use plastic," Ki Saigon said of the project.
In addition to the book, the team also created a series of artworks ready to be displayed. Schools, universities and museums will be able to access the entire body of work free of charge. To see the full project, visit the website.
'Letters to the future' is sponsored by Pizza 4P’s—who the agency collaborated with on a previous project for World Peace Day—to mark its 10th year anniversary. With this project, the corporation published its annual sustainability report.
Ki Saigon in collaboration with:
Artist: Zac Buehner
Photographer: Wing Chan
Video and images: VAIB Production
Music: Numa Gama