Human beings produce and toss so much plastic out into the ocean that we have created the Pacific Trash Vortex, also known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Gyres swirl this floating rubbish heap into a condensed area the size of Texas, and in areas of the Patch, the amount of plastic outnumbers plankton by as much as six times. More alarmingly, most of the non-biodegradable bits break down into microscopic particles that find their way into the food chain. Australian-based artist Kim Preston’s “Plastic Pacific” is a series of photographs that call attention to the marine debris, staging scenes where everyday pieces of refuse are transformed into sea creatures.
Eerie, and strangely beautiful, the underwater settings created by Kim Preston reveal pieces of plastic that have become swimming organisms. Preston became aware of the Garbage Patch several years ago, and was both shocked and saddened by how little was being done to solve the problem. Hoping to create images that would encourage people to think more deeply about the problem, she wanted to start with pictures that first focused on the beauty within human destruction, as “we certainly seem to be hell bent on making sure there is no natural beauty left untouched by our wastefulness.”
Asking her why she felt it was important to raise awareness of the Garbage Patch, Preston told Inhabitat: “Because I think we’ve been using our oceans as a garbage dump for too long. For me though, the issue is broader than just the Pacific Garbage Patch. I want people to think about the consequences that come as a result of our modern way of life. Over packaging, single use products such as hotel shower caps, sandwich bags etc. Is the extra convenience really worth the destruction of our planet, and the poisoning of our sea life?”
She feels that art is the perfect medium by which to inspire independent thought and give the viewer pause to reflect and question what they think they already know. Not liking to preach, she would rather let her audience make up their minds through an analysis of her work.
For more information on how Preston recreated her watery environment, check out PetaPixel’s in depth article on her process.
+ Kim Preston