Used Protection

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when face mask use was essentially required to be in public, more than 94,000,000 disposable face masks were tossed into the trash every week[1].

 

Well, most were tossed into the trash.

 

This series, created during the pandemic in 2020-2021, examines masks that were not disposed of properly and found in situ.

 

Masks were generally seen in two lights: as a necessary barrier between humans, protecting one from the other or as a forced intrusion on the user’s personal freedom of choice, resulting in their use – and non-use – becoming a political statement.

 

Used, having protected the user and those they encountered, these masks were discarded like condoms, sanitary pads or even underwear, dropped on the street after the act. Laced with DNA, these were casually tossed aside as if there was no danger associated with another person contacting them, evidence of a lackadaisical attitude about them by the user.

 

Or perhaps the disdain held by many for their forced use led to them being deliberately tossed without care? Was it a silent protest, rejecting the government’s intrusion into personal liberties and the users’ momentary compliance that led to such an insensitive disposal?

 

Or was it because the role of the mask lessened or numbed the human experience of interaction along with “social distancing” and the users were begging to be seen, heard, recognized, and felt as quickly as the opportunity presented itself?

 

Whatever the reason for such thoughtless disposal – less than that usually afforded a used tissue – the masks were the common and shared detritus of a period in our lives where we trusted those next to us less than ever before and where we were forced to hide our identities to protect ourselves from those around us.

 

 

[1] https://environmentjournal.online/articles/94-million-face-masks-being-thrown-away-every-week/

 

Used Protection

2020-2021

Please inquire about sizes, formats and editions as well as site-specific installations

262
262

A photo of a red disposable mask on concrete

press to zoom
440
440

A photo of a pink and blue disposable mask on concrete

press to zoom
38
38

A photo of a blue disposable mask on concrete

press to zoom
447
447

A photo of a black disposable mask on concrete

press to zoom
9915
9915

A photo of a blue disposable mask on concrete

press to zoom
690
690

A photo of a blue disposable mask on a painted yellow stripe in a parking lot

press to zoom
46
46

A photo of a yellow children's disposable mask on a painted yellow stripe in a parking lot

press to zoom
580
580

A photo of a blue disposable mask next to a painted yellow stripe in a parking lot

press to zoom
9763
9763

A photo of a black cloth mask on bricks and concrete

press to zoom
335
335

A photo of a soiled grey cloth mask on concrete

press to zoom
438
438

A photo of a multi-colored cloth sloth mask on asphalt

press to zoom
9232
9232

A photo of a blue disposable mask on asphalt

press to zoom
9150
9150

A photo of a black and white bandanna mask mask on asphalt

press to zoom
9309
9309

A photo of a black cloth mask on asphalt

press to zoom
387
387

A photo of a black disposable mask on asphalt

press to zoom
696
696

A photo of a blue disposable mask in a puddle on asphalt

press to zoom
279
279

A photo of a white disposable mask on asphalt

press to zoom
9936
9936

A photo of a blue disposable mask on cracked asphalt with yellow paint

press to zoom
207
207

A photo of a black and white checkered cloth mask on asphalt

press to zoom
560
560

A photo of a black disposable mask on a concrete sidewalk with dried leaves

press to zoom
553
553

A photo of a blue disposable mask on grey and red concrete

press to zoom
201
201

A photo of a blue disposable mask on concrete with dried leaves

press to zoom
23
23

A photo of a blue disposable mask on concrete with a used tissue

press to zoom
9910
9910

A photo of a blue disposable mask on concrete with miscellaneous trash and a used blue latex glove

press to zoom
30
30

A photo of a blue disposable mask tangled in a bush with other trash

press to zoom
460
460

A photo of a pink with white polkadots cloth mask on woodchips

press to zoom
536
536

A photo of a blue cloth mask on dirt next to tree roots

press to zoom
9997
9997

A photo of a blue disposable mask in a dormant flower bed

press to zoom
1/2