The seven giant faces loom above the dunes, gazing sombrely over swathes of bright sea thrift towards the ocean.
Even before the G7 had sat down to begin their Cornish summit, Mount Recyclemore, a sculpture made of discarded electronic waste depicting the visages of the seven leaders, looked bound to be one of the stars of the show.
About 15 artists helped create the structure over a frantic six weeks at Rush’s scrapyard/studio in south London. Parts were then shipped down to Cornwall on lorries and put together in situ.
It will remain on the beach until Sunday, after which the plan is to set it up at musicMagpie’s headquarters in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Different artists were tasked with depicting each leader. “They’re individual characters and we’ve had individual artists working on them so they have their individual flavours,” said Rush.
“We need to recycle stuff, we need to make stuff last. We can’t just throw it into landfill. It’s not just a politician’s problem; it’s a problem that the human race has to deal with.”
One of Rush’s collaborators, Alex Wreckage, admitted that there had been rows over who would get the best parts. “There were a few arguments: ‘I want that bit, it’s Biden’s nose’, ‘No, it’s Merkel’s.”
The faces are 3 metres by 1 metre and constructed out of 12 tonnes of e-waste – about 20,000 pieces of discarded tech.
According to musicMagpie, the aim was to highlight the huge environmental threat of electronic waste: it claimed the UK was one of the worst offenders. It also published research that found four out of five British people did not know what e-waste was, and that half of Britons (47%) did not recycle, resell or donate their old tech to charity, with most opting to hold on to it instead, where it ends up at the back of drawers collecting dust.
Steve Oliver, the founder and chief executive of musicMagpie, said there had been an “amazing” reaction to the piece.