The multimedia project explores the complementary coexistence of microplastics and trees as carbon sinks. How do trees and microplastics coexist in forests, capturing carbon in the time of the climate crisis? Combining video, interactive sound and sculpture, the work inquires into the response of forest ecosystems to the ubiquitous and irrevocable dispersal of microplastics around the Earth.
What we consider to be our environment unequivocally and ubiquitously contains plastic. Plastics have been found to be present even at the outskirts of human reach: at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, in the rain, clouds and atmosphere. While plastic can be detrimental to the quality of an ecosystem, plastic pollution is also a carbon sink, storing carbon and keeping carbon dioxide and methane out of the atmosphere. But is the carbon sink itself an embodiment of industrial processes that contribute to the climate crisis in competition with or complementary to forests? By what processes will they come together? This project builds on ongoing artistic research by Dr Kat Austen (UK/DE) on the topics of microplastics and the climate crisis.