The Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an accumulation of rubbish that has been carried through the ocean by its currents—is becoming so big it is creating new “continents” of plastic. These plastic masses are home to a vast community of microbial life that scientists have dubbed the Plastisphere. Although this plastic landscape might be considered by many to be highly toxic, it hosts a thriving and unique ecosystem that exists independently of the Pacific Ocean’s natural life cycles. More than a thousand different species have been found living on a single piece of microplastic from the patch. Wheth…
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Exhibition Debut

Photos by Oscar Vinck and Tommy Köhlbrugge

Found Images of Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Found Maps of Global Plastic Waste Accumulation

Found Images of Plastisphere Microbes

Microscopic Images of Plastisphere Microbes

Installation Sketches

Accumulation: Landscapes of the Plastisphere

Shahar Livne

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an accumulation of rubbish that has been carried through the ocean by its currents—is becoming so big it is creating new “continents” of plastic. These plastic masses are home to a vast community of microbial life that scientists have dubbed the Plastisphere. Although this plastic landscape might be considered by many to be highly toxic, it hosts a thriving and unique ecosystem that exists independently of the Pacific Ocean’s natural life cycles. More than a thousand different species have been found living on a single piece of microplastic from the patch. Whether these lifeforms are feeding on the junk or simply using it as a host, they have the potential to turn the trash in our oceans into a catalyst for evolution. In an immersive installation, Shahar Livne presents the Plastisphere as a meta-reality. Through a combination of video mapping, sound and smell, the viewer is invited to adventure into this surprising ecosystem floating in the Pacific Ocean.

Credits

Movie Design: Alan Boom

Sound design and concept: Shahar Livne

References

Caroline Power Photography Link

Erik Zettler, “The ‘Plastisphere:’ A new marine ecosystem,” Smithsonian, July 2013. Link

Erik Zettler, Tracy Mincer and Linda Amaral-Zettler, “Life in the ‘Plastisphere’: Microbial Communities on Plastic Marine Debris,” Environmental Science & Technology 47, no. 13 (2013): 7137–7146. Link

Greg Shirah and Horace Mitchell, “Garbage Patch Visualization Experiment,” NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, August 10, 2015. Link

Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin, Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies (London: Open Humanities Press, 2015). Link

Julia Reisser et al., “Millimeter-Sized Marine Plastics: A New Pelagic Habitat for Microorganisms and Invertebrates,” PLoS ONE 9, no. 6 (2014). Link

Laurent Lebreton, “Quantifying Global Plastic Inputs from Rivers into Oceans,” The Ocean Cleanup, June 7, 2017. Link

Linda Amaral-Zettler et al., “The biogeography of the Plastisphere: Implications for policy,” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13 (2015): 541–546. Link

Lucy Bütof et al., “Synergistic gold–copper detoxification at the core of gold biomineralisation in Cupriavidus metallidurans,” Metallomics 100, no. 2 (February 2018): 278–286. Link

Michael Marshall, “Water striders thrive on Pacific Garbage Patch,” New Scientist, May 9, 2012. Link

Office of the Secretary, “Interior Secretary Norton to Dedicate Former Army Chemical Weapons Facility as National Wildlife Refuge,” U.S. Department of the Interior, April 14, 2004. Link

Patricia Corcoran, Charles Moore, and Kelly Jazvac, “An anthropogenic marker horizon in the future rock record,” GSA Today, November 8, 2013. Link

“Plastisphere,” University of Chicago Marine Biological Laboratory. Link

Shanna Baker, “Journey into the Plastisphere,” Hakai Magazine, March 29, 2017. Link

TeleSUR English, “‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ Threat To Marine Life,” YouTube, March 26, 2018. Link

University of Portsmouth, “Wildlife thriving after a nuclear disaster? Radiation from Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents not as harmful to wildlife as feared,” ScienceDaily, April 11, 2012. Link

Bio

Shahar Livne is an award-winning conceptual material designer located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Livne’s lifelong fascinations in nature, biology, science, and philosophy are translated into intuitive work. Shahar’s body of work focuses on conceptual material research in a multi-level methodology, centered around materials as carriers of narratives.

Contacts

shaharlivnedesign.com Link

@_shaharlivnedesignstudio_ Link