20210303

Involuntary Pairs: Man-made lost in Nature

Involuntary Pairs: Man-made lost in Nature

HK Maritime Museum
Central Pier No.8
Monday – Friday from 09:30 – 17:30
Saturday, Sunday from 10:00 – 19:00

extended until 21st March 2021 




Involuntary Pairs
is a collection of marine plastic artefacts and natural specimens, picked up from beaches bordering the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Andaman Sea and Bali Sea. The collection of over 300 individual specimens was curated over the course of seven years by German artist liina klauss. 


Each man-made object is matched with an item found in nature to form an Involuntary Pair: the two objects look alike, yet one is natural, the other originates from human manufacturing. With reference to the botanical system of taxonomy, which was used in the 18th century to bring order to the natural world, liina organizes her findings in a classification system of assumed equality.


liina started to notice the similarity of marine plastics and natural specimens when doing beach clean-ups away from the popular beaches that are regularly cleaned. Among the vast amounts of marine debris, the pairs were often found next to each other. This phenomenon turns out to be caused by a natural law: Things with similar shape, surface texture and buoyancy are treated equally by forces of nature; winds blow them in the same direction, currents and waves carry them to the same beach and they get washed ashore next to each other. These conditions can cause dozens of similar pairs ending up in the same place.


Involuntary Pairs mirror the current environmental crisis and its consequences: mismanaged plastics are merging with nature to the point of inseparability. Despite the omnipresence of plastics in every-day life and its global distribution, the full implications are just starting to be acknowledged and researched.

What we do to nature, we ultimately are doing to ourselves. Latest research confirms that toxins of polymers are not only found in the global ecosphere but also inside human bodies. 

Botanical taxonomy has as a prerequisite the idea of nature existing separately from humans. Involuntary Pairs shows that these borders are getting blurry, that the concept of human isolation is losing its ground. The story of separation that has been upheld for the past centuries has culminated in the current environmental crisis. The believed narrative of human as not part of nature has led to exploitation, destruction and ecocide.

Ultimately there is no separation. The moment we rediscover our connection with nature again, we start to reverse the crisis. 



There is a card game accompanying this exhibition. To order please go >>> here 




Involuntary Pairs: Man-made lost in Nature


HK Maritime Museum
Central Pier No.8
Monday – Friday from 09:30 – 17:30
Saturday, Sunday from 10:00 – 19:00

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extended until 21st March 2021 



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