Artist Entries – The Universal Sea Awards I

Our EU co-funded project The Universal Sea ran three Open Calls to Artists. A big thank to all artists for their great contributions! Here you can find our Top 100 submissions of our first open call from 2017 as a reference. They were all published in the guidebook from 2019.

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The Plastic Sea (selection of works)
by Frankie Moughton-Small
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Contest is finished!
https://universal-sea.org/calendar/open-call-application-form?contest=photo-detail&photo_id=1664
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Title:
The Plastic Sea (selection of works)

Author:
Frankie Moughton-Small

Description:
There is so much waste, especially plastic, already in the world I felt I should use some of it to create, rather than just add more. The challenge to transform and elevate unwanted rubbish into something of value appealed to me in both its trials in making, and in challenging people’s views on waste and value. I found the difference between the bright, playful colours of the plastic and the unpleasant reality of its origins an interesting dichotomy, which highlighted how strongly context affects your view of something. The realisation of what you are actually looking at versus one’s initial reaction can have a powerful impact on a viewer; forcing them to reassess how they value things, and for this reason transforming the plastics appealed, so that the visual appeal of the pieces is what engaged them before the issue, hopefully making people reassess the unvalued, throwaway position plastic largely occupies in our current society. I wanted to explore the transformable potential of these waste materials and made a series of 1940s/1950s inspired swimming caps. I liked the irony of juxtaposing the glamorised ideal of lounging on a pristine beach with the material proof that that is far from the reality nowadays. A swimming cap is a symbol of protection in the water, yet made out of the very thing polluting the seas. My intention was to create pieces which looked fun and appealing, with the materials not instantly recognisable, so as to then have a viewer experience a slightly uncomfortable dissonance between the visual appeal of the pieces and the grim reality of what they are, and the wider problem that these materials represent. Do you still find them beautiful or interesting? And should you? With this collection, my aim was to present a different way of incorporating plastic pollution into design; for people to feel motivated to help change things by being inspired by something more positive than many of the ways plastic pollution is often shown in art and design. I would like to continue two chain-based pieces I have started, they are both made out of nurdles, I have quite a large amount of plastic beach debris left, I would like to invite people to come and select their own nurdles, then drill them and string them onto the chains; people working together to create something huge, emphasising how when people work together you can create change and also highlighting the sheer mass of plastic in the seas. 2. Some other sort of huge chain piece? Everyone brings a piece of plastic, or everyone brings all the plastic they would have thrown away from that day or week or something, and it is all transformed into a huge chain or sculpture or something. Something where people are directly interacting with the materials (always creates a more lasting impact on people) and also something where people are made to consider their own plastic consumption; not in a negative shaming way, just in a way to make people notice and think about it more. 3. Some sort of jewellery or art workshop. People come and make jewellery items or small art objects out of plastic beach debris; I have lots, people could also bring their own? Showing people first hand the transformable potential of these materials, getting them to engage directly with these materials, and then also having a momento to take away with you; a physical reminder of the pollution, a reminder that will hopefully make you more aware of the plastic in your day-to-day life.
Description:
There is so much waste, especially plastic, already in the world I felt I should use some of it to create, rather than just add more. The challenge to transform and elevate unwanted rubbish into something of value appealed to me in both its trials in making, and in challenging people’s views on waste and value. I found the difference between the bright, playful colours of the plastic and the unpleasant reality of its origins an interesting dichotomy, which highlighted how strongly context affects your view of something. The realisation of what you are actually looking at versus one’s initial reaction can have a powerful impact on a viewer; forcing them to reassess how they value things, and for this reason transforming the plastics appealed, so that the visual appeal of the pieces is what engaged them before the issue, hopefully making people reassess the unvalued, throwaway position plastic largely occupies in our current society. I wanted to explore the transformable potential of these waste materials and made a series of 1940s/1950s inspired swimming caps. I liked the irony of juxtaposing the glamorised ideal of lounging on a pristine beach with the material proof that that is far from the reality nowadays. A swimming cap is a symbol of protection in the water, yet made out of the very thing polluting the seas. My intention was to create pieces which looked fun and appealing, with the materials not instantly recognisable, so as to then have a viewer experience a slightly uncomfortable dissonance between the visual appeal of the pieces and the grim reality of what they are, and the wider problem that these materials represent. Do you still find them beautiful or interesting? And should you? With this collection, my aim was to present a different way of incorporating plastic pollution into design; for people to feel motivated to help change things by being inspired by something more positive than many of the ways plastic pollution is often shown in art and design. I would like to continue two chain-based pieces I have started, they are both made out of nurdles, I have quite a large amount of plastic beach debris left, I would like to invite people to come and select their own nurdles, then drill them and string them onto the chains; people working together to create something huge, emphasising how when people work together you can create change and also highlighting the sheer mass of plastic in the seas. 2. Some other sort of huge chain piece? Everyone brings a piece of plastic, or everyone brings all the plastic they would have thrown away from that day or week or something, and it is all transformed into a huge chain or sculpture or something. Something where people are directly interacting with the materials (always creates a more lasting impact on people) and also something where people are made to consider their own plastic consumption; not in a negative shaming way, just in a way to make people notice and think about it more. 3. Some sort of jewellery or art workshop. People come and make jewellery items or small art objects out of plastic beach debris; I have lots, people could also bring their own? Showing people first hand the transformable potential of these materials, getting them to engage directly with these materials, and then also having a momento to take away with you; a physical reminder of the pollution, a reminder that will hopefully make you more aware of the plastic in your day-to-day life.
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