A Plastic Archipelago

  • To recycle is one of my daily rules. That is why this installation by the British artist Russel Thoburn caught my attention. Experienced in working with recycled materials, this time he created a floating island made from plastic tops, a sort of colorful carpet, placed on a canal of Hackney Wick Fish Island, in the outskirts of London.

    Thoburn’s artwork, named Parkesine, wants to be a tribute to the history of the location as an industrial and manufacturing area where, back in 1866, the world’s first plastic artifact was invented and. At the same time it aims to be a critical perspective on the lack of care of the water surface by the football players playing in the nearby soccer field, who are used to throw plastic bottles all around the stadium. Every year around thirty tons of plastic are removed from the nearby Lee river. The artist used about 4,000 tops, creating a floating island of six square meters. He claims that recycled materials give us the opportunity to explore different languages in our relationship with the environment:

    “What’s fantastic about working in this domain is that many of the materials are familiar to us, yet as an art medium they’re relatively new. This often encourages a sense of liberation and curiosity within people.”

    So, it’s time to satisfy our curiosity, to experiment new ways of making art, but, first of all, it is time to recycle more every day!