16 Tons
17 Tons: Memory as practice
17 Tons: Memory as practice
2012 Architects & Refunc
Accumulation
Aesthetics of Pollution
Alexandrov, Grigori
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Carbon
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Cinematek Brussels
Claire Fontaine
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Coal Face, 1935
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Crises of Capitalism
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Dark Matter
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Daykin, Gilbert
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The Age of Coal: An ...
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Vanden Eynde, Maarten

b. 1977, Leuven, Belgium; lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

Plastic Reef, 2008-2012 Plastic debris, variable dimensions 

Maarten Vanden Eynde’s Plastic Reef is a sculpture made from melted plastic debris collected from several of the five world ocean ‘gyres’. An ocean gyre is a system of rotating ocean currents, predominantly caused by significant wind movements. In 2008 the artist learned that there was a ‘floating landfill’ about the size of the United States, made up of plastic trash, swirling in the Pacific Ocean. He decided to visit this location and other gyres to collect several hundred kilos of this floating waste, which he then transported to his studio and melted down to create Plastic Reef. The work is a comment on the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans as well as a reference to disappearing coral reefs around the world. The project and its accompanying website aim to raise awareness about the effects of plastic pollution and its toxic properties. Plastic is not only one of the slowest materials to biodegrade, but is also implicated in poisoning the ocean’s food chain and in a wide variety of diseases. While the sculptural qualities of the work recall the beautiful forms and colours of natural coral reefs, these are at odds with the work’s material origins. The work thus seduces us but also serves as an ominous reminder of the consequences of the widespread use of what will be the longest lasting physical remnant of modern human ‘civilization’. KG