Deriving its name from P. K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, absolute kippleization refers to the stuff that accumulates and takes over our lives. It directly investigates the large quantities of plastic entering our oceans and waterways. A confronting testimony to our consumerist and disposable lifestyles.
This artwork explores this notion of kipple, investigating the manner in which plastics impact marine environments. I like to think of plastics as a material artefact, disintegrating and transforming both physically and functionally. Over time, plastics break down in the marine environment. The chemical sequence that makes up plastic will lose chains, rendering the plastic toxic. The shapes of the plastic objects become weatherworn and broken. The plastic’s purpose also changes when it is discarded. No longer a vessel or a lid, the plastic becomes adrift, a floating interference in the water until it becomes a receptacle for bacteria, a toxic anomaly or a fake food source.
Approximately every fortnight for twelve months I collected, documented, cleaned and categorised hard plastic, including straws, bottles, lids, toys, cigarette lighters and cotton buds, forming over 19 cluster samples. Including prints of the cluster samples taken at Congwong Beach, in excess of 200 specimen jars containing sorted plastic found at the Beach and graphs that abstractly document and analyse volume, absolute kippleization reminds us of vast and overwhelming challenges that we face in the age of the Anthropocene.
The plastic is classified by both type and colour, attracting us with its vibrancy, the vivid palette lures and seduces. In the specimen jars, the plastic reminds us of lollies and treats. But once you look closely and you are aware that this is plastic collected from a single place, the glitter and glamour of the colour fades. It is here that you notice evidence of micro-organisms crafting floating homes to spread across the globe. It is here that you notice missing fragments that have been broken off as the plastic deteriorates.
absolute kippleization fuses both science and art, in order to give a voice to the our marine life. It combines scientific investigation, method and data, with visual analysis and interpretation. The work allows me to think like a scientist through collecting evidence, repeating processes, classifying specimens and inputting data. absolute kippleization requires scientific processes and data results for it to literally take shape and form.