Discussion Workshop and Livestream
22 April 2020 from 5:30-7:00 pm
we consider to be our environment unequivocally and ubiquitously
contains plastic. It has been found at the outskirts of human reach:
at the top of Mount Everest, in Arctic ice, and at the bottom of
the Mariana trench. Plastic is becoming part of our geology and
the lively surrounding of many organisms on this planet – a
new material and habitat providing new stories and life forms.
The overabundance of this human-made material challenges our concepts
of the natural and former sites of waste and refuse might
have gotten a new fertile potential: Trees grow on plastic dumps,
bacteria and fungi evolve to feed on PET. Plastic might be disrupting
our idea of nature but is it really disrupting nature itself?
plastic can be detrimental to the quality of an ecosystem, plastic
pollution is also a carbon sink, storing carbon and keeping carbon
dioxide and methane out of the atmosphere. But is this carbon sink,
itself an embodiment of industrial processes that contribute to
the climate crisis, in competition or complementarity to forests?
Using DIY science and artistic research, Kat Austen has been working
on a new project Stranger to the Trees* exploring the coexistence
of microplastics with birch trees.
soil, microorganisms are involved in degradation processes of both
natural and synthesized material. In order to build a first understanding
of the plastisphere as a living micro-habitat, Nana MacLean started
characterizing the microbial community on plastic debris in soil
and landfills she has visited during her Phd research. With molecular
data in her hands, she’s questioning if bacterial life isn’t
already “owning” the plastisphere as a new nature.
the DIY Hack the Panke programme's (Un)Real Ecologies
workshops by Nana MacLean and Kat Austen, participants work together
to research the coexistence of microplastics with the Panke River
in Berlin Wedding. The Sushi Roulette workshop series uses
DIY chemistry to search for microplastics in fish guts. Coexistence
of plastic with non-artificial entities in the environment, and
with humans, is a burgeoning area of research, which has been explored
through participatory interdisciplinary techniques and should be
discussed from many different angles.
Earth Day, join Kat Austen and Nana MacLean to discuss the coexistence
of microplastics in the environment and what it means for nature
and ourselves. During this online talk, we will invite your minds
with us to go visiting the plastisphere as artists, chemists and
biologists, trees and bacteria, humans and particles – negotiating
together a plan of coexistence with microplastics on this planet.
More information at: http://www.artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-event-54.htm