In February of this year we painted a piece inspired by climate change in an attempt to raise awareness regarding the actions of FIE. Given the complexity and urgency of the problem we felt we needed to do more.
Shortly afterwards we painted a piece inspired by the life and work of David Attenborough, as a nod to his fight against the desecration of our planet and its wildlife. Dublin City Council have requested this piece be removed. We intend to use the disagreement to draw attention to the legal proceedings and generate support for FIE.
These projects were the catalyst for what you read below.
At present, the health & vitality of our entire ecosystem is in jeopardy. Extinction, pollution and global warming threaten the earth more than ever. Natural influences are no longer responsible for the rapid reengineering of our planet.
We have developed and designed three artworks in order to confront the ugly truth that modern life is choking the earth, whether we can see it or not. One of these artworks will be produced in Denver, Colorado at Crush Walls Festivals. Another showcased in the Royal Hibernian Academy. And the final piece on a prominent building in Temple Bar. Together these works will form a wider project titled “Climate”.
The climate issue is universal, and convoluted. It cannot be tackled by any one entity alone, but instead requires a fundamental societal change. We decided to focus on one key element of the climate catastrophe - plastic pollution.
Pollution is a complex and damaging issue in our global climate. Plastic is one of the world’s most pervasive pollutants. It is a malleable and versatile material, insatiably demanded by nearly every major industry in the world. Approximately 300 million tons of plastic are manufactured each year. In brutal contrast, plastic is nearly impossible to destroy. It only breaks down, shredding into smaller pieces. This gives rise to a proliferation of tiny shards of the material, less than 5mm in length - microplastics.
Studies have emerged which indicate that microplastics ingested by marine life cause inflammation and decrease feeding, ultimately depleting energy reserves (Wieczorek et al., 2018) and killing the organism. Microplastics derived from plastic litter including bags, wrappers, packaging and fishing gear has been found in autopsied whales, porpoises and seals (Bergmann et al., 2015).
Researchers are increasingly confident about the ubiquity of microplastics in human life. The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with a study published in 2017 finding microplastics in 83 percent of tap water samples collected from around the world (Tyree and Morrison, 2017). The extent of the damage and implications is widely unknown.
Plastic is omnipresent in our lives, and the “disposable” culture of today’s society propels the ubiquity of the material.
In Trinity’s AML (Advanced Microscopy Laboratory), we carried out microscopic assessment of samples collected from our ocean. The proliferation of microplastics can only be truly understood through a microscope. We collected a vast array of visual imagery which evidenced the fact that plastic has percolated deep into the environment. Our research provided crucial inspiration for our series of artworks.
We are presenting the collision of nature and human waste.
10th September, 2019.
Crush Walls Festival, Colorado.
The link between the ocean and human waste are intrinsic in the inspiration for this piece. The concept explores plastic on a microscopic level, magnifying these tiny particles and enlarging their scale. The intention is to reveal an unsettling reality; this invisible plastic has infiltrated our environment down to the nanosphere. This combined with the imagery inspired by the beauty and vibrancy of marine life reinforces the stark contrast between the visible and the reality.
Micro vs. Macro:
20th September 2019 - 26th January 2020.
RHA Gallery, Dublin 2, Ireland.
"In this exhibition, SUBSET brings awareness to our selective blindness and the impact human actions have on the environment. They have examined several materials on a microscopic level to force a consideration with the cycle of creation and consumption. Through a presentation of microplastic, the audience is dwarfed with this imagery. The main artwork destabilizes the preconception that humans have control over what we create."
Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland.
The location and scale of the artwork demands the attention of the viewer. We hope our macro expression of this micro battle will give pause for thought and inspire action.
Human pollution threatens our planet and the climate on a massive scale with plastic as one of the world’s most pervasive pollutants. Microplastics are seeping into the fabric of our world.
We hope this macro expression of the micro will give pause for thought.