2015 - 2016
Plankton form a diverse group of microscopic marine organisms living in the water column, not able to swim against the current; they exist in a drifting, floating, state. Unique ‘specimens’ relate to the pioneering discoveries made by marine biologist John Vaughn Thompson in Cork harbor, Ireland during the 1800’s.
Presented as microscopic samples, objects of marine plastic debris, recovered from the same location, mimic Thompson’s early plankton discoveries. The work represents contamination of plastic particles in the natural environment, creating the perception of past scientific discoveries when organisms were free from plastic. Presenting new ‘specimens’ created from recovered debris, serves as a metaphor to the ubiquity of plastic, encapsulating in miniature the larger problem of an imperfect world.
Movements of the recovered objects, recorded in camera over several seconds represent individual plankton in the water column. Captured on expired film with faulty cameras, highlights the ‘imperfection’ in both technique and subject matter. Nomenclature is the description given to devising new scientific names, of which each specimen has been given, imitating early latin origins each name contains the word ‘plastic’ hidden within its title.
Current scientific research has found that plankton ingest micro plastic particles, mistaking them for food, at the base of the food chain they are a crucial source of food for many larger creatures. The potential impact on marine life and ultimately man itself is of vital concern. In terms of plankton, and of action, we are ‘Beyond Drifting’, and must bring into focus these ‘Imperfectly Known Animals’.