broken dreams no.1

"Arranged. We were gathering small pieces of plastic on a beach in Hong Kong for a really brilliant artist, Liina Klauss. We sorted plastic by color and then she picked out the pieces that she will integrate into her work. I was overwhelmed by the activity in many ways; I've become somewhat desensitized to seeing plastic on beaches because it's so much of what I witness in my work. But this was different, all of the sudden we had made an order to it, classifying the plastic by color, and seeing it there, in a taxonimic, bastard rainbow, assaulted my senses, filling me with an immense woe. I was compelled to write my feelings down at the beach. I felt powerless; I felt that all my victories on policy were not doing anything, ultimately - and I've been the driving force in a lot of victories. This reaction nowadays is rare for me. My life is going to exotic places and looking at garbage, so why all of the sudden so sensitive again? It felt like I was looking at a transmogrified version of aesthetic order. It's this very feeling - the bearing witness to sensual data filtered through the laws of natural aesthetic law and plastic's incongruent position therein, which compelled me to quit my job and fight to keep it out of the environment as my life's purpose. Now, several years later, I'm often mired by the politics and pettiness, and the inadequacy of industry response, the nature humans to schism and factionalize in social and environmental movements that often fills my day, working on this issue. I thank Liina for returning me to the purity of the moment I once had on a beach in Oregon many years ago now. This experience invigorates and confirms that the steps I take on this path to relieve our oceans of this plight, footprint by footprint will form a path, a path towards solving this horrible issue. I have become erudite on the science of this subject out of necessity; but my soul is that of an artist, and it's this vantage that affects the life choices I make. Witnessing another human's intuition and ability to portray this internal struggle I have, who is ultimately a stranger (I just met her) makes me feel that I'm not alone. And common purpose and camaraderie are really the only things that give humanity the courage to fight for what's right."

Words by the surfer, sailor, writer, eco-nerd, ocean lover, plastic pollustion fighter Stiv Wilson from 5gyres.org, who I was so honored to meet during the Plastic Free Seas Youth Conference 2013 www.plasticfreeseas.org and during curating a beach, where he was inspired to write the above. Thank you Stiv! I feel so humbled by your words.


chinese landscape 垃圾山水 for kids ocean day 2013

i was honored to be invited to kids ocean day 2013, organized by ocean recovery alliance in hong kong (www.oceanrecov.org). it was a highly energetic and busy day, with over 800 children and 200 volunteers participating to form a picture of a shark with the words 'respect' and 'ocean' on repulse bay beach. here is a time-lapse of the day: http://youtu.be/9NcGovm_4y0. those children who found time to come by my waste mandala were fascinated, appalled, eager to help and keen to ask questions. here are some of the things they said: "who put this toothbrush on the beach?" "this looks so precious!" "can i add my plastic wrapper?" "i don't want to touch the rubbish" "can i touch?" "beautiful!" "so much waste!" it was a wonderful day of exchanging ideas, passions and creativity. thanks to everyone who put their effort, time, colour and heart in!


show me your waste and i tell you who you are

someone came by and asked me: what is this?
i said it's an installation made from waste, an art piece.
oh, i thought it's a cultural symbol of some sort.
well, actually yes. it is a symbol of our throw-away society, isn't it?
oh (pause). can i take a picture?

it is strange how people still distance themselves from this reality. as if it has nothing to do with them, as if they are not part of it. our interconnectedness is so obvious. i can feel it, i touch it, i see it whenever i'm doing these installations. show me your waste and i tell you who you are! out in nature, exposed to the elements and to our left-overs, i can see our thoughtless habits, desires and human consciousness clearly. more clearly than ever before.