Mobile Matters ~ Constructing an alternative medicine cabinet with found objects


Multi-media mobile installed at various exhibitions including Navigating Urban Life, Monsoon [+ other] Grounds, and Bethnal Green Open Gardens Treasure Trail. The piece presents an alternative medicine cabinet holding discarded packagings that may have been used for self-medication, recreation, surviving, managing and treating illness. The objects were collected from the ground over a number of years whilst litter picking at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. They are tied up with herbs / “weeds” and medicinal plants also grown on the nature reserve, as well as soil and compost from the site.

The mobile offers a way of thinking through the notions of “poisons”, “remedies”, and “matter out of/ in place”, and the ways in which these things might relate to each other in the context of an urban nature reserve. Whilst litter picking each week we thought about the ways in which materials and substances move between bodies, plants, soils, plastic, metal and glass, transforming, contaminating, and decomposing the boundaries between these things as they move.

Images courtesy of Emily Ballard and Anna Wates

side view of mobile, against blue bathroom wall. Hanging objects include: dried herbs, pill packets, syringe, laughing gas cannister, packagings in different languages, a cigarette box, a glass bottle containing soil
birds eye view of mobile hanging over bath containing compost, the objects in the mobile include:  Objects include: dried herbs, pill packets, syringe, a cigarette butt
mobile dangles over an earthenware all gender-urinal with pipes attached. In the background is a collage of zine pages, with a zine presented on a nearby windowsill
Hari speaks to mobile handing over all-gender urinal, holding a microphone. They are standing against a window, with an audience listening