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Katy Perry Album Seed Paper Declared Biohazard in Australia

2013 December 6
by Shared by Steve Rust

Australian officials have expressed serious concern about musician Katy Perry’s latest album.

It isn’t the lyrics that concern them bukaty-perryt the materials used in the packaging and promotion. In early November, at the same time Perry’s album hit number one on the ARIA charts and the singer herself was skyrocketing to number one in popularity on social media sites and performing to packed crowds in Australia, news broke in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australian biosecurity officers had been dispatched to begin tracking down imported editions of Perry’s album Prism as they entered the country.

The album contains a form of handmade paper embedded with wildflower seeds. The idea is to encourage listeners to act on their urge to “let it shine” (as the lyrics of Perry’s most famous song decree) by planting the seeds and spreading good feelings and energy.

The problem is that although the Australian version of the album was vetted to ensure that all of the seeds came from native species, the US and international versions of the album were not vetted to ensure that any seeds used would not pose the risk of becoming invasive species if they were imported into Australia and elsewhere. Many Australians use Amazon and other sources to purchase imported albums, hence raising the ire of biosecurity officials.

It’s a great reminder that the material, textual, and cultural are intertwined.

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