Oliver Walker
Bangaloresident@1 Shanthi Road

Oliver Walker (Liverpool, 1980) is a visual artist who uses live art, interventions and video to investigate social and political systems. In Bangalore, he intends to start a plastic bag collection (much in the way a museum would collect art or other objects). In addition, he is open to new ideas and collaborations. He will be hosted by 1 Shanthi Road.

Portrait_Oliver Walker © Oliver Walker Oliver studied Fine Art in Bristol (UK) and at the University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin (Germany), and has lived in Berlin for over 10 years. He has been awarded residencies to the Cité des Arts in Paris and BankArt1929 in Yokohama. He received an Arts Council England grant for his project ‘One Euro’, which has been shown at FACT (Liverpool) and Transmediale/HKW (Berlin) among others.

Oliver explained the origins of the idea behind the plastic bag collection: 
“The idea came while trying to find a plastic bag to line my rubbish bin. The only one I could find was an unusually-shaped bag left by an ex-flatmate from Taiwan. I didn’t want to use it for the bin, which made me realise how much I valued this essentially worthless, completely everyday object from the other side of the planet.”
Plastic bags are ubiquitous tiny details of our capitalist, industrial world. They are ‘egalitarian’ (everyone has access to them), incredibly similar (everyone recognises them), but also very varied, often featuring local telephone numbers, names and designs, giving a sense of place. They carry both expensive and cheap items, and are used by the poorest and richest in society. And while they are an environmental disaster that we are becoming increasingly aware of (a 2017 study suggested between 72% and 90% of all drinking water worldwide is contaminated with microplastics), as the initial anecdote explains, they carry not just objects, but stories too. We are at a point where many countries are introducing plastic bag bans, including various bans across India. If this trend continues, which it surely will, plastic bags will at some point in the future become rare and maybe even relics of a bygone period of over-production.
Clearly, bags are intrinsically connected with urbanity, and Bangalore is extremely urban. At the same time, being such a ubiquitous object, collecting them can touch on other aspects of everyday life.
Although there is a clear project proposal, Walker expects the project to be shaped by his time in Bangalore, and to possibly develop new ideas in direct response to being in the city. The possibility to enter into exchange with other artists in Bangalore is also exciting.

Final Report