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Art

‘Full Page Editorial’ Sand Sculpture by Toshihiko Hosaka Implores Japan to Reduce Plastic

June 3, 2019

Johnny Waldman

May 30 is Zero Waste Day in Japan (The name is derived from the numeric pun for 5 (go) 3 (mi) 0 (zero), which can be read as gomi zero, or zero waste). On this day, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ran a full-page editorial made to look like a front-page headline titled “Plastics Floating in our Seas” and highlighting the devastating impact that plastic is having on sea life. Everything from the article headline to the images and text were actually carved into sand on a beach in Japan and photographed from above.

The actual editorial that was carved into sand is the work of artist Toshihiko Hosaka (previously), who specializes in sand sculptures. Hosaka worked with local residents and students at Iioka Beach in Chiba prefecture to create the massive sand sculpture. It took 11 days to complete and measures 50 x 35 m (164 x 115 ft). Below is a brief excerpt from the text:

The sea does not speak. So, I will speak in its place. Currently, the lives of many creatures in the sea are being taken. The cause is plastic. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam… 8 million tons of plastic used in everyday life are dumped in places like rivers and the ocean every year, and remains floating as garbage. By swallowing or being entangled in plastic garbage, about 700 species of animals including sea turtles, seabirds, seals, and fish are harmed and killed.

The editorial also calls out Japan as for its addiction to plastic:

We Japanese are also largely responsible. Japan produces the second most garbage per person. In order to rectify this, we have to take a good hard look at what is happening in the ocean. We need to think about things we have been ignoring as a result of prioritizing economic growth, everyday convenience, and such.

You can red the entire text in English here. Below are some behind-the-scenes photos and a video from the “newspaper” being created. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Food Photography

Elegant Still Lifes of Luscious Fruits and Perfectly Ripe Vegetables Trapped Inside Plastic Packaging

May 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Spanish studio QUATRE CAPS usually focuses on architectural renderings, but for a recent series, titled Not Longer Life, the group turned their attention to the plastic in our food system. In each of the six images, classic still life paintings by artists including Claude Monet, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and Juan Sánchez Cotán are given a contemporary update. Recognizable still life elements like strongly directed light and decorative fabrics are maintained. But the perishable fruit that traditionally symbolized the temporary nature of life is now cloaked in plastic preservatives like cling wrap, clamshell containers, and stretchy foam sleeves.

The studio explains to Colossal, “Thousands of products are being commercialized, doubling and tripling a synthetic skin or even worse, taking the place of their natural wrapping skin with a plastic package in order to ‘ease’ their consumption.” If you like this series, also check out the work of Suzanne Jongmans. You can explore more projects by  QUATRE CAPS on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

Update: a reader shared an insightful article that highlights the importance of pre-cut produce in increasing accessibility to nutritious food for people with limited dexterity.

 

 



Design Photography

Dysfunctional Household Objects and Fabricated Flowers Cleverly Created by PUTPUT

April 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Copenhagen-based studio PUTPUT (previously) creates visual puns and quirky tools in their juxtaposition-filled photographs. From salami sunglasses to a chair made of flaming birthday candles, PUTPUT has a “shared and deeply rooted fascination with metaphysical relationships connected to everyday objects”, according to an artist statement on their website. An ongoing series is the studio’s Fabricated Flowers, where plastic and fabric household supplies like garden gloves, shower loofahs, and dish scrubbers stand in for the color blossoms of potted plants. You can see more from PUTPUT on Instagram.

 

 



Design

What’s New Is Old Again: A Classic Norwegian Chair Produced with 100% Recycled Materials

February 6, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

The newest chair by Nordic Comfort Products (NCP) is a unique and sustainable twist on an old classic. Their R-48 model has furnished schools and offices since the 1960s, but has previously required virgin plastic and a metal base. Their recent addition, the S-1500, was designed by international design firm Snøhetta, and is constructed from nothing new. The marbled green chair is composed of 100% recycled plastic sourced from local fish farming companies’ old fish nets, ropes, and pipes and a subframe made from recycled steel.

The design is a result of a two-year research project by Snøhetta to investigate plastic’s journey through the supply chain and see how it might be repurposed as a building material once it has served its original purpose. Typically NCP uses plastic from China to create their furniture. Their new chairs will create a local, circular economy which puts to use the worn out tools of neighboring businesses while also cutting down on fossil emissions from shipping materials internationally. The chair will be showcased at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair from February 5 to 9, 2019. You can see other ways Snøhetta is putting their plastic research to use on their website and Instagram. (via Fast Company)

 

 



Art

Two Hundred and Seventy Plastic Bags Rhythmically Inflate in a New Installation by Nils Völker

November 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Two hundred and seventy white garbage bags hang like ghosts in the columned hall of Vienna, Austria’s Museum für agewandte Kunst (MAK) for the exhibition Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty. The piece is by Nils Völker (previously), and is titled after the number of bags present in the installation. Over 1000 precisely installed fans and 45 circuit boards keep their movement on track, helping to rhythmically inflate and deflate the hanging plastic objects. The repetitive crinkling fills the vast hall, creating an audio texture akin to the rustling of tissue paper or the sound of the tide on a sandy beach.

The concave installation is divided into nine segments that each contain two columns of plastic bags. While viewing the piece from the front you can only make out the white mass of plastic. Viewing it from the side or rear however, reveals the massive amount of cables and circuitry needed to make what appears to be such an effortless piece of art function. Two Hundred and Seventy is on view at MAK in Vienna through March 2019.

 

 



Amazing Design Science

System 001: An Innovative Design to Remove Plastic From the Ocean has Been Deployed off the Coast of California

October 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Founded in 2013 by 18-year-old (at the time) inventor Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization that’s working to clean up our oceans by removing plastic. After five years of rigorous design and testing, the Cleanup’s cleaning apparatus, called System 001, has been deployed off the coast of California.

System 001 is a passive collection apparatus that works by moving in tandem with the ocean’s currents, taking advantage of the water’s circular movement patterns, called gyres, that cause the trash to accumulate in the first place. The Ocean Cleanup points out that 92% of the debris in the Patch is still large enough to be collected using the System’s large suspended net, and it’s critical to remove this plastic now before it degrades into microplastics that enter the food chain. Because of the net’s passive, slow-moving design, the group has reported that it has not caused animals to get caught, presumably because they have sufficient time and space to navigate away from the debris-funneling nets.

While the organization has global aspirations and an international team (the founder is Dutch), their first focus is on the massive Pacific Garbage Patch, which floats in the ocean between California and Hawaii. The Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest aquatic aggregation of trash in the world, first recognized thirty years ago. It is estimated to contain about 80,000 metric tons of garbage spanning 5.2 billion square feet (nearly a million square miles). Ocean Cleanup’s boat, the Maersk Launcher, towed the System 1,200 miles from Alameda to begin its work.

You can see a live update of the System’s location and learn more about The Ocean Cleanup on the organization’s website, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.

  

 

 



Art

A 38-Foot-Tall Whale Made From 10,000 Pounds of Plastic Waste Surfaces in Bruges

June 27, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In response to the Bruges Triennial’s 2018 theme “Liquid City,” Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm STUDIOKCA designed a 38-foot-tall sculptural whale composed of over five tons of plastic pulled from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The studio, led by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, wanted to address how cities from across the globe are contributing to the waste that has piled up in our oceans—the discarded plastic that is washing up on our shores and endangering and killing marine life.

Skyscraper contains nearly 4,000-square-feet of plastic waste, which is just a dent in the 150 million tons of plastic that currently circulates in our seas. STUDIOKCA worked with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to coordinate several beach clean-ups, which is how the team found most of the plastic for the 10,000-pound whale.

“Right now there is 150 million tons of plastic swimming in the ocean, our oceans, the oceans we share,” says Klimoski in a video created about the project. “Pound for pound that is more plastic waste swimming in the ocean than there is whales. So an opportunity like this to show the type of plastic and the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans is really important.”

You can learn more about the team’s process behind the large-scale whale on their website and in the video below. The Bruges Triennial continues through September 16, 2018. (via Colossal Submissions)

Triënnale 2018; STUDIOKCA – ‘Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale)’

Triënnale 2018; STUDIOKCA – ‘Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale)’

Triënnale 2018; STUDIOKCA – ‘Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale)’

 

 

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