Polymer Lowerworld

Made for 
De-center Re-center exhibition, which focussed on human uncentered design.
I took a radical approach, using the ancient technique of shamanism to connect with the deadest of dead materials; plastics.

Polythene sculpture (100 x 130 cm)
Realtime generated visuals (TouchDesigner)

Plastics connect us to both the ancient past and the far future, yet we only use it for an extremely short instance. Once it was plankton, it will be something else one day.

Pure polythene contains only carbon and hydrogen atoms, chained together in giant polymers. It’s a thermoplastic, infinitely reusable and therefore the most sustainable material ever created by humans.

“As petroleum came to the relief of the whale,” stated one pamphlet advertising celluloid in the 1870s, so “has celluloid given the elephant, the tortoise, and the coral insect a respite in their native haunts; and it will no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer.” *

*Susan Freinkel; Plastic: a toxic love story

The shaman is the medium between the human, animal, plant, mineral, spirit and the immaterial. Shamanism is not a gift, it’s a skill one can learn. To enter the shamanic state of consciousness one needs two things; a drum rhythm and a hole in the ground leading to the Lowerworld. *
I built my entrance to the Lowerworld out of polythene.

It isn’t easy to achieve a truly non-human perception of the world around us. I decided to take the shamanic journey and find the perspective of the non-living.

Spirit of Plastic I command you; we need your assistance and I offer you mine.

* Michael Harner; The Way of the Shaman