ABOUT Drifters Project:
IN 2006, after discovering the mountainous piles of plastic debris the ocean was depositing on the remote shores of Hawaii, I began collecting and utilizing this plastic as my primary material. Since then, I have made scores of interventions, cleaning beaches and making collections from all over the world, removing thousands of pounds of material from the natural environment and re-situating it within the cultural context for examination. These collection missions are often done solo, as part of my process. I approach the sites as a forensic scientist, examining and documenting the deposition as it lay, collecting and identifying the evidence of the crime.
Plastic objects are the cultural archeology of our time. These objects I see as a portrait of global late-capitalist consumer society, mirroring our desires, wishes, hubris and ingenuity. These are objects with unintended consequences that become transformed as they leave the quotidian world and collide with nature to be transformed, transported and regurgitated out of the shifting oceans.
Even though my previous work involved heavily constructed painting-objects, I consciously avoid commodifying this work into a luxury object, preferring to keep it in a transitive form as installation. All of the work can be dismantled and reconfigured, but nearly impossibly recycled. The objects are often presented as specimens on steel pins. Highly personal objects of hygiene and body association, such as toothbrushes and combs, are recurrent.
The ocean is communicating with us through the materials of our own making. The plastic elements initially seem attractive and innocuous, like toys, some with an eerie familiarity and some totally alien. At first, the plastic seems innocent and fun, but it is not. It is dangerous. In our eagerness for the new, we are remaking the world in plastic, in our own image, this toxic legacy, this surrogate, this imposter.