Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker

In Tapitapultas (2012), Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker comment on mass consumerism and pollution by way of a game they invented. The artists used disposable spoons as catapults to shoot thousands of plastic bottle caps at a hole in a concrete platform. The platform was once part of a U.S. military installation in the Panama Canal Zone, and it is now an observation deck in a nature park. As the video comes to an end, the viewer discovers that the bottle caps that fell through the hole accumulated on the forest floor, forming a giant mountain of synthetic waste in the natural landscape.

Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker, who also exhibit individually, have been making work together since 2006, often using a playful approach to address serious sociopolitical themes. Conlon has a background in science and sculpture, and Harker’s is in film and media studies. Their videos merge Conlon’s use of ordinary objects and investigations of human behavior with Harker’s irony and subversion of conventional storytelling methods. Their playful and poetic critiques of contemporary culture frequently use discarded objects to comment on consumption, accumulation, climate, and the ironic beauty of waste-ridden landscapes. Specifically, they examine contradictions in the construction of Panamanian national identity, as well as political and societal disparities between Central America and the United States.