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Episode Info

Episode Info:

In this episode, you’ll hear Mandy Baker talk about her project Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, which draws attention to plastic pollution in the environment—seas and oceans in particular.

From the project exhibition press release: 

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. In this series by Mandy Barker, unique ‘specimens’ of this animal species relate to the pioneering discoveries made by marine biologist John Vaughn Thompson in Cobh and Cork Harbour during the 1800’s.   

Mandy Barker with of her photographs on display at the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland, 27th May, 2017 

Presented as microscopic samples, objects of marine plastic debris, recovered from the same location, mimic Thompson’s early scientific discoveries of plankton. The work represents the degradation and contamination of plastic particles in the natural environment, by creating the perception of past scientific discoveries, when organisms were free from plastic. The enveloping black space evokes the deep oceans beneath. Presenting new ‘specimens’, created from recovered debris, serves as a metaphor to the ubiquity of plastic and the anthropocene, encapsulating in miniature the much larger problem of an imperfect world.

"Current scientific research has found that plankton ingest micro plastic particles, mistaking them for food, and at the base of the food chain they are themselves a crucial source of food for many larger creatures. The potential impact on marine life and ultimately humankind itself is currently of vital concern. In terms of plankton, and of action, we are ‘Beyond Drifting’, and must bring into focus these ‘Imperfectly Known Animals’.

Mandy's website: www.mandy-baker.com

Twitter: @plasticpieces

Instagram: mandybarkerphotography

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