pollution

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Animation

The Beauty: A Poignant Animated Short Film Reimagines Plastic Waste as Ocean Life

March 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Simultaneously stunning and filthy” is how director Pascal Schelbli describes his 2019 short film “The Beauty.” A cautionary reimagining of the world’s rampant plastic pollution, the arresting animation reenvisions waste as lively sea life: a bubble-wrap fish puffs up, a serpentine tire glides through the water, and an entire school of discarded footwear swims in an undulating mass.

As it plumbs the vast expanse of the littered ocean, “The Beauty” magnifies the enduring nature of waste and lays bare the insidious effects of microplastics as they enter the food chain and impact the overall health of the ecosystem. In a statement, Schelbli describes the motivation behind the film, which won a Student Academy Award in 2020:

Instead of showing another mournful stomach full of plastic bags, I thought, ‘what if plastic could be integrated into the sea life and nature solves the problem?’ The film should take you on a journey, where all our feelings of guilt will disappear. But in the end, we wake up and realize that we need to change something.

To see more of the Zürich-based director’s poignant animations, check out his Vimeo and Instagram, and watch a recent Last Week Tonight segment that dives further into the crisis and explains how recycling isn’t the best solution.

 

 

 



Animation

Selfish: An Animated Short Explores the Tragic Impacts of Plastic Pollution

September 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

In “Selfish,” what opens with a benign scene at a sushi restaurant quickly turns into a dire assessment of plastic pollution. Created by Canada-based animator PoChien Chen, the appropriately named film begins by a chef plucking a detergent bottle from a pile of fresh fish, assembling various dishes made entirely of waste material, and subsequently serving them to a horrified trio of aquatic life. It then dives into a disturbing series of facts and figures about the current state of our oceans and the effects of pollution on wildlife.

Chen said in a statement that the critical animation was inspired by a visit to a small island in Taiwan two years ago:

It was the closest I’d lived to the sea, being only a 10 minute drive away. Everyone can enjoy the beach with its white sand and turquoise ocean. At the time, I went snorkeling almost every week. Seeing such alluring tropical fish and coral reefs sill lingers in my mind. However, I also cannot forget the scenes of tons of human waste lying around the shore as if it were a part of nature.

See how Chen animated the project—which has garnered an impressive list of awards from film festivals around the world—on Behance, and check out more his films on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art Photography

The Children of Gaia Emerge from Ecological Crises in Photographs by Fabrice Monteiro

October 26, 2019

Andrew LaSane

The Prophecy #7, Fabrice Monteiro. Baryt prints in color, images courtesy of the artist.

For his multiyear project titled “The Prophecy,” Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro confronts global issues of ecological devastation. The striking images in the project combine haute couture, spiritual figures, and staged scenes of pollution and decimation.

Made in collaboration with Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy and set primarily in Africa, the series took Monteiro two years to complete. Models representing the children of the Earth Goddess Gaia (known as djinn) are dressed in costumes fashioned to look like the environmental ruin and refuse that surrounds them. Consumer debris like fishing nets and plastic bags form elaborate gowns, headdresses, and garbage accessories that anchor the djinn to the trashed landscapes. All thirteen photographs in the series are currently being shown together for the first time in the United States at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Prophecy #1

The exhibition was organized to coincide with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 18-month “Interrogating the Plantationocene” Sawyer Seminar. James Wehn, the Van Vleck Curator of Works on Paper at the museum, says that Chazen director Amy Gillain and Professors at the university selected Monteiro’s project “for the compelling way in which the photographs provoke critical conversations about issues central to the seminar.” The course runs through May 2020, while the exhibition of Monteiro’s photographs will end on January 5, 2020.

To see more of Fabrice Monteiro’s unique blend of photo journalism and fashion photography, check out his online portfolio and follow him on Instagram.

The Prophecy #2

The Prophecy #3

The Prophecy #8

The Prophecy #4

The Prophecy #5

The Prophecy #6

The Prophecy #9

 

 



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

A Nostalgic Winter Scene Takes a Sinister Turn in a New Welsh Work by Banksy

December 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Yesterday, Banksy (previously) left his mark in the South Wales town of Port Talbot, his first in the UK nation. The area drew attention earlier this year when a World Health Organization report named it the most polluted community in the UK (the designation was later revoked). The street artist seemed to be referencing this undesirable ranking in his piece, which is placed on two adjacent sides of a cement brick garage. A young boy clad in winter gear and with a small sled appears with arms outstretched, his pink tongue catching what appears to be snowflakes. But the nostalgic scene takes on a different meaning when both walls are viewed together, as the “snow” is revealed to be flakes of ash from a dumpster fire. Banksy has declared the work to be his in a video posted earlier today on Instagram, where you can join 5 million others in keeping up with his latest hijinks. (via Juxtapoz)

 

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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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