Debris – The Plastic Ocean Project
by Lee Lee

Debris is an interactive, collaborative installation which is being created as a response to the problems presented by single use plastic. The work reflects the literal problem of plastic in the marine environments, while offering a symbolic representation of the chemical body burdens carried by wildlife and humans alike. In presenting these issues, we are asked to consider misplaced notions of “disposability”, calling in to question consumer driven waste which has devalued what is in fact a very important material.

Participate: Make a Fish

Explore the Marine Food Web by drawing or painting a marine creature. A large array of fish, crustaceans, birds and mammals all make up the web and are affected by chemical body burdens represented here by plastic. Think of incorporating re-purposed materials in order to make use of that which is normally disposed of without second thought.

To release your creature into the ‘ocean’, send a .jpg of your piece to gallery420@gmail.com.

Once released into the ‘Ocean’, the images are transferred onto re-purposed materials and used as the base of interactive installations that are set up in educational institutions and gallery exhibitions. Similar to the processing of material in the actual ocean, participants are invited to contribute to the ebb and flow of the creative act. Images are replicated, transferred, redistributed, distressed, and reworked by collaborators as the work itself takes on a life of its own. If they wish, participants and organizations are credited for their contributions. Contact artists directly if you are interested in purchasing original works. Through the installations, people may learn about how we contribute to the problem and how we are directly impacted, even if we live inland. Participants are introduced to solutions on how to value the material of plastic in order to reduce waste of it, in turn decreasing our exposure to dangerous chemicals. In so doing, we can develop a practice of the most effective solution; limiting the amount of waste we produce at the source.

To see the progress of the Debris, please visit: virtualvoices.org/plastic

The Debris collaboration has engaged audiences through several environments including the Museum Of Natural History at the University Of Colorado, the Denver Aquarium and the Colorado Ocean Coalition’s Making Waves conference. It gathered voices from the Atis Rezistans community of Port-au-Prince Haiti and inspired a performance at Aragorn’s workshop near Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The installation exhibited in February 2014 at the Chateau de la Napoule, on the Mediterranean Sea in France, where the foundation of the work was created. A portable workshop will be included in Caravanassary at the 2014 Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City. It was featured by the United Nations Programme on the Environment, RISDxyz magazine, Santa Fe Radio Cafe and supported by the Puffin Foundation. Presentations were given for the Amigos Bravos series, Water Matters at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and for the project, Welcome to the Anthropocene: From Global Challenge to Planetary Stewardship hosted by the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Pace University in New York. Aspects of the project were exhibited at the Glebe Gallery in Ireland, and will also be included in the Networked Urban Mobilities conference in Copenhagen, which explores how new technologies change cities, cultures & economies. It will also be represented at the Terra Madre Conference in Turin, Italy. The next phase will take it to Maui, then on to Thailand as part of a collaborative residency at the Rumpueng Arts Space in Chiang Mai in the summer of 2015.



Lee Lee attained her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has spent time in over 40 countries. Her work looks at collisions between traditions and globalization and explores environmental impacts of our post-industrial, chemical age.


Lee Lee

This work was submitted by Lee Lee on 15 October 2014.

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