Douglas Coupland’s plastic trash exhibit aims to get people to re-examine relationship with plastic

Plastic trash washed up on the shores of British Columbia is the subject of an art exhibition aiming to help people reconsider their use of disposable plastic, in much the same way attitudes toward littering shifted decades ago.

Artist and author Douglas Coupland’s exhibit, Vortex, includes a battered Japanese fishing boat that washed ashore on Haida Gwaii, BC in 2017, a casualty of the 2011 tsunami.

The vessel sits atop a 50,000-litre water installation, and has a crew of four human characters that represent the past, present and future of people’s relationship with plastic.

The new exhibit, which is currently on display at Vancouver Aquarium, aims to help visitors visualise the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the north Pacific Ocean.

Vortex aims to get viewers to think about plastic – “a seductive yet sinister material” – in a relevant, contemplative, and transformative way.

Douglas Coupland, author of the critically acclaimed novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, has been collecting consumer plastics since visits to Tokyo in the 1990s.

The artist’s regular visits to the mystical place of Haida Gwaii during the past two decades has inspired Vortex and inspired an evolution in his work with consumer plastics.

He recalls how when walking along a BC beach a few years ago he came across “one of the plastic cleaning bottles that I used to collect in Tokyo suddenly washed up on the shore”. Speaking of his discovery, the artist described how the experience “evangelised” him “in a way”.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea



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