Plastic Plankton

30" x 24" x 1/2"

Materials: Pigment, medium, recycled plexiglass and plastic bags

Plastic Plankton was created using reverse glass painting techniques on a damaged and reclaimed plexiglass sheet. These techniques originated in Medieval Europe and spread across the world.

Plankton are diverse lifeforms floating in salt or fresh water, where they take on innumerable ecological roles as they shape the geology and life on our planet. Phytoplankton produced our planet’s first oxygen-rich atmosphere, fostering the growth of other plants and eventually animals. Today, they produce almost seventy percent of the available oxygen on Earth. Their wide array of ecological services make them critical to supporting life on our planet.

 

In the present, the endlessly complex members of this silent, drifting scale are threatened by numerous environmental challenges including most evidently climate change, ocean acidification, and reduced ocean oxygen levels. As an added obstacle, the tiny pieces of plastic in our seas have induced plankton, like other marine creatures, to mistake chemically toxic plastics for food and eat it. Many recent scientific studies find these crucial players in the web of life are declining at alarming rates.

© Deborah Kennedy 2020