The installation “Genese/genesen” (2016-2017) shows plastic moving in water – in the shape of fantastic marine living beings. Could this be a science fiction motif like the artificial development of new species made of plastic, growing by assimilation of plastic particles? Is it a utopia, or a dystopia with unpredictable consequences?
The soft sculptures made of silicone are presented as fragile objects of experimentation, in a setting suggesting a sterile place for scientific research or for therapy. Each organism discreetly bears the traces of the undergone treatment, which is specifically documented by photographic sheets in a file nearby on the table. These uncomfortable details contrast with the scene of tranquillity in the water.
The spectacle of this emerging or regenerating life and the gestures of care try to create emotion and empathy for the marine ecosystems in urgent need of rescue. Furthermore, the artwork can be seen as an optimistic vision that science could contribute to healing and protecting the environment, inspired by life itself in the search for solutions to combat plastic pollution.
For The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic!?, the three artistic happenings with the participation of the public will involve “plastic creatures” similar to those from the artwork “Genese/genesen”, but of human size. In a fantasy-like and humorous way, the public will be invited to experience with the artist how it feels to live in an ocean of plastic. These unconventional, intentionally aesthetic events are designed to generate intense emotions and as a result to raise awareness and desire to act against plastic pollution.
Swim with plastic!
In the first action taking place at the seaside in summer or in a swimming pool, people can swim surrounded by fantastic floating creatures (target public: tourists).
The second happening invites the public into a closed space filled with fog and ultralight amazing creatures moving in the air (location: festival or event with a young public).
In the third intervention, the public takes a seat at an exquisite dinner table; just the contents of the plates is disturbing, something looking like seafood topped by a cream of shower gel (location: shopping centre). In the focus lies the micro-plastic issue in consumer goods.
Weird, amazing, maybe uncomfortable experiences – the three interactions are conceived so that nobody can remain indifferent and thus to instigate a dialogue between the public and the artist about our way of life, the products we buy, that is: the responsibility of us all to avoid producing plastic waste. At the end, a little giveaway would be offered to the public, a kind of memory game in which the cards are made of pairs picturing one plastic item and its plastic-free alternative. This pedagogical tool can be considered as a further artistic contribution to the topic and will be edited for the events.
Malatsion (aka Bérengère Branciard Malatsion, *1974, Saint-Tropez, France) is a visual artist based in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1998 she graduated in art history and archaeology at the University of Poitiers, France, and specialized in archaeozoology. She complemented her scientific education with a graduate degree in visual arts in 2003 at the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg, France. Her work has been featured in several exhibitions in Germany (among them Künstlerverein Walkmühle, Wiesbaden; BOK/salon 13, Offenbach; Gallery Heike Arndt, Berlin; AusstellungsHalle, Frankfurt/Main; Hardthof/ARThof 8 art festival, Gießen; Kunstverein Bellevue-Saal, Wiesbaden; Kunstverein Ahlen). She is a contributor to the online magazine “w/k – Between Science and Art, Düsseldorf. Working with an environmental NGO in 2016, she realized an artistic project about biodiversity in urban areas, at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil.
Science and the arts are closely linked in my professional career and my artistic practice. Having worked as an archaeozoologist before turning to art studies, I was interested in environmental problems created by civilizations in ancient times. This theme remains at the centre of my practice as an artist, now focused on the interaction, with grave consequences, between humans and nature in our time. Many of my works question the new visions of the living as a technological resource. Other projects of mine analyze the links in cause-and-effect chains concerning degradation/preservation of the environment in the Anthropocene. Since the Rio Doce environmental disaster in Brazil in 2015, the aquatic world and the pollution of the seas have become part of my research topics. Regarding the plastic pollution, my interest lies especially in contributing to a change in our way of life, to move to a post-plastic, post-oil era. What are the alternatives to plastics and the new materials, existing or to be invented?