In October, 2018, I was invited to take part in research instigated by the Synthetic Collective, an interdisciplinary collaboration between visual artists, cultural workers and scientists focused on researching and thinking about plastics and micro-plastics pollution.
As part of the research, across 10 days, I drove around Lake Erie along with artist Eeva Siivonen: sampling the strand lines on a number of beaches; collecting, and recording, the amount of plastic pellets washed up and embedded within the sand.
We found a lot of plastic.
The final scientific report for the project is available online here:
A comprehensive investigation of industrial plastic pellets on beaches across the Laurentian Great Lakes and the factors governing their distribution.
Soon after I was home, I set myself up in the studio. Along with the rocks and other materials I had kicking around, I started to record a number of animations.
All I could think about was EXCESS, and all of these materials I had in the studio for no real reason. About how they all tied back to this larger issue of plastic production and waste that we had been sampling for across the Great Lakes.
I wasn’t sure how to make sense of all of this excess.
All of this stuff.
Or how to explain the experience.
And all of these rocks.
Why did I gather all of these rocks?
Nothing ever came of these videos: I couldn’t finish the project. When you think about the whole plastics industry for too long, it’s hard to make things make sense.
But I still have the rocks.
I’m sharing some of the videos here with hopes it might help make it all make a bit more sense.
There’s something about the ritual of repetition.
Help make it make sense.