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plastic in paradisum

plastic in paradisum (2016) is a catalogue of discarded plastic objects recovered from a beach at Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn, NY.

For each object in the catalogue, I did in-depth research about its origin and constructed a 3D model/portrait. The catalogue is a reflection on the social meaning we confer on these objects over time: How did these objects come to be considered “trash” or “waste”? What are the images and rituals of consumption? How have cultural attitudes toward waste resulted in an ocean that contains plastic?

For each object I collected, I used an experimental imaging technique called photogrammetry to reconstruct a 3D model of each object. Using Agisoft 3D software, I was able to extract 3D information from 2D photographs through a process of aligning the photos, creating dense clouds and vertexes, and generating the textures. The resulting 3D models were uploaded to the open source platform SketchFab.

The slow, physical ritual of “cataloging” the discarded objects— scanning the beach for plastic, picking up each object, washing and scrubbing them one by one, taking between 50-100 photographs of the plastic, researching the plastic material and origin— has revealed a history and a life for each object.

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