working title: Plastic Souls


Two years ago during my first visit to Il Porticello in Calabria, I was struck by the large amount of plastic waste which I found on the beaches, and by the great mountains of waste and garbage that appeared in many places and that constantly accumulated. The plastic waste floating on the surface of the seas and oceans and washed up on the beaches is a global problem.

When the curator of Porticello Artist Residencies invited me to stay it made room for an idea: the sonification of the issue. I thought of a series of floating instruments whose main component was floating plastic waste. The instruments should be played by the sea itself. Use oscillating Water Columns, that are devices that generate energy from the rise and fall of water caused by waves and tides. The energy of the waves would continuously pump air through the whistles.
Such an installation, made for a large part out of waste plastic can be placed in the water along the coast. The result is a chorus of sirens, singing, crying and whining.
This is a home-video explaining the idea

I plan to investigate this idea and develop it first on my own, and then to elaborate it with others; on an individual as well as an institutional basis. It can become an open art form. In the latter case techniques and methods would be freely available to everyone, and can be added to and improved. In the ideal case the senseless drop in the ocean will prove less futile and people will work worldwide whistling the problem of litter.

The work must have a clear social context. It is not the intention to make a pure critical work of art, and thereby to deliver a statement; there is a clear distance to the ethics of politics and religion. Generosity, room for interpretation are important objectives. The work could be perceived as critical, even experienced as unpleasant, but it will hopefully be fascinating or simply found beautiful.

A. The Sound
I start from practical questions.
– How do you construct floating clusters from the variety of materials, such as bottles, cans, flasks, etc.?
– Is it possible to create a varied sound?
– Can the whole make a harmonious impression?
The condition is only to used plastic waste.
– Is it possible to create cables from waste, or an anchor?
Transparency is another requirement: It must be visible how the result came about.

B. Social
After the completion of the work I want to open up idea and method for others. It is important that the knowledge and techniques become accessible to interested parties.
It is also important to leave open room for interpretation, a space that is so large and inviting that other people adopt the work and make it their own.
It is possible that the work grows in two directions, firstly as a prototype by further interpretations and new works and secondly, through the information channels, as a database that can offer a solution with the added expertise for new challenges.