1 Dec - 31 Jan 2020

Plastiglomerates by Aimee Labourne

Mareel feature space - beside the cinema screens.

'Plastiglomerate' is a proposed new kind of 'human-made' rock, consisting of a mix of melted plastic debris and natural sediment. Samples have been found on shorelines across the world. They are one part of a terrifying plastic pollution problem, which extends far beyond just visible material - as plastiglomerates are churned around in the water, smaller and smaller shards break off and form a 'smog' of microplastic particles in the ocean.

Invented at the start of the 20th century, plastic was initially seen as utopian - endlessly malleable, convenient, hygienic – and so suitable for Modernity's new vision. Increased post-war consumerism and exploitation of nature now means however that the detritus of urban-utopia is clogging our most remote and wild-seeming coasts. Despite the vastness of the ocean, its watery depths cannot absorb this dystopian material.

Through drawing, I wish to isolate these uncannily organic samples from their usual shoreline context where they blend in all too easily. Studying these plastic forms almost as though they are geological specimens allows me to trace their strange lines and shapes in detail, lines which reveal how natural processes now confusingly mix with human actions in a world which is becoming more and more materially chaotic.