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Plastic Ocean

Lee Lee
Year Grant Awarded 2013

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State > CO Zip Code > 80218
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Life in the Chemical Age presents universal problems. Plastic, and the petrochemicals from which it’s made, are wreaking havoc externally on marine systems and internally in the body burdens we carry. Plastic is actually a very important material as we don’t have the natural resources to support our population without it. Because we are flooded with single use plastics, we have devalued the material. By building an engaging interactive and collaborative installations, we can address deeply engrained but misplaced notions of “disposability”. Children are important partners in creative activism as they carry the issue to the heart of their families. Once plastic finds its way to the ocean, it presents dangers of entanglement and internal blockage to sea life. Swept up in the gyres, it breaks down into smaller and smaller bits, never cycling back into the environment. It is a material which absorbs high concentrations of Persistent Organic Pollutants drained into the sinks of our oceans. The chemicals de-sorb into the flesh of the fish who eat it and the fat loving chemicals enter into the marine food web.

Plastic Ocean is a project which responds to the problems presented by single use plastic. The work reflects the literal problem of plastic in the ocean while offering a symbolic representation of the chemical body burdens carried by wildlife and humans alike. In presenting these issues, we are called to consider misplaced notions of “disposability”, questioning consumer driven waste which has devalued what is in fact a very important material. I designed a “toolkit” for educational institutions to engage locals about the issues. Participants then make their own “fish” to release into the “Plastic Ocean”. The installations maintain an educational component to broaden the reach of this issue which literally affects us all.

To participate, send an image of a fish to release into the “Ocean” to