Pelagic plastic

posted by Erwin Keustermans / on November 30th, 2009 / in Science & Art

We have managed to create a huge memorial to human waste at a location that is remote from everyday human activity. In 2008 the predicted existence of a floating mass of pelagic plastic, a giant Garbage Patch, was confirmed in the stable waters of the North Atlantic gyre where plastic debris is accumulating over an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

Anna Hepler is a sculptor based in Portland, Maine. The subject of Hepler’s work is often the way a multitude of interlocked entities form a shape or a flock, spreading through space. On learning about the Garbage Patch, she incorporated it in a project for one of her first large scale installations. In January 2009 she spent a week together with eight assistants sowing together discarded plastic from a Portland recycling center. Once stitched together, the plastic nets formed a giant boat hull hanging from the walls and ceiling of the Center of Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport.


An extended article about the project can be found here. Also, Hepler will be recreating this piece in the Portland Museum of Art in 2010 under the title ‘The Great Haul’.