TruCost Super-M-Art is a site-specific immersive multi-sensory art installation that displays plastics found on UK beaches in a familiar, although disquietingly different, supermarket-style environment.
Plastic items recovered from the the inexhaustable supply the tide brings in are reclaimed, sorted and re-branded with familiar feeling labelling. The descriptive text smacks of marketing uber-hype and reads like nonsense poetry. The thrown 'away' items are given new life, context and meaning. Recovered from a void, they are displayed with all the branding techniques, subtelties and in your face nature of a supermarket, yet there is something fundamentally wrong and disquieting about this store. A soundscape plays long-lost market stall fervour, sounds of the seaside drift in whilst the robotic till sounds trill, asking if you remembered your loyalty card?
Professor Richard Thompson been a long-time supporter of, and advisor on scientific content to Dirty Beach and we were delighted to collaborate with him and his team to install Tru-Cost Super-M-Art in Cornwall.
Richard is one of the world's foremost experts on the effects of marine pollution. He recently addressed US Senator John Kerry about the issues at a major international conference - "Marine litter is a global environmental problem of similar magnitude to overfishing and climate change, with action from all of us, the problem of marine debris is entirely avoidable" The installation was part of the three-year, €4.5million EU-funded MARLISCO project, being led in the UK by Plymouth University, to engage and educate people on the issue of marine litter.
All of the items displayed were collected and washed by Dr. Richard's team and local volunteers from Rame Head Penninsula Beach Care, Cornwall. Whereas previous incarnations of Tru-Cost Super-M-Art had been comprised of the same "stock" collected from beaches in and around Brighton in 2013, this project used only locally sourced Cornish plastic. Plastic washed up in Cornwall is very different to plastic washed up in Brighton, it's a completely different kettle of fish! Brighton beach plastic comprises of large whole objects like plastic water bottles and containers whereas Cornwall beach plastic is predominantly smaller broken fragments. This resulted in a brand new fascinating range of sweet jars full of sorted plastic fragments.
GALLERY - click images to enlarge
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