525,949,000 Minute Sculptures

Approximately 1500 bottles end up in land fills and the ocean every second. Petroleum-based plastics don’t biodegrade the same way organic material does and may take between 450 – 1,000 years to fully decompose. I was able to observe firsthand the devastating impact of plastic on the world’s oceans during an artist residency at the nature and wetlands preserve, Abbadia.

These photographs document PET plastic bottles discarded and strewn about the coastline between Hendaye and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France. The images were taken over a 3-month period of time. I did not manipulate the objects in each photograph but approached each scene as I found it. The series of 37 photographs are printed on postcards that are made freely available to the visiting public during each exhibition of the artwork. The public is encouraged to use the postcards, thus sending out a “message in a bottle” beyond the confines of the gallery space.

The title of the series, 525,949,000 Minute Sculptures, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Australian artist, Erwin Wurm,’s fleeting One Minutes sculptures, precariously balanced compositions of objects and people that are documented and shown as photographs. Whereas Wurm’s series is a humorous reading of sculpture-as-suspended-performance, I see sculpture as an ongoing process that also asks the viewer, “where do materials come from and where are they going to?”

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