The Synthetic Sea Presentation,TEDx Seapoint

This presentation in Cape Town came as the result of investigating plastic pollution in the oceans and shorelines, by collecting and understanding this material I started using it as a medium to create sculptures. This journey has shown me both sides of the impacts of plastic pollution and what this material offers to the environment. 





Plastikos is an exhibit in transformation that I have made to respond to my investigation into plastic pollution, currently elements of it are profiled at the Two Oceans Aquarium.


It is with a healthy amount of optimism that I wish to re align our perception of plastic and see it as part of our world now, 'next nature' takes it and makes it into a life supporting entity. Could this be reproduced on a small scale within a marine preserve or harbour to actually attract life? 









Essentially the artwork described as the "Plastikos Island" is a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD). These occur naturally in the form of floating palms, seaweed, trees and whale carcasses. They have been made artificially by fisherman since the 1950's using bamboo, tyres, oil drums and a number of other techniques. How this FAD differs is that it will not be used to attract fish to catch, but to attract fish to congregate, feed and propagate in the protection of the marine reserve.


The intention is to utilize old fishing rope as the material to create this floating "artificial reef " to encourage new life, to monitor the effects on the immediate environment and gauge if it is successful to be replicated or enlarged in the future. 


In planning a FAD deployment programme of this nature, I wish to obtain a satisfactory longevity of the device at least cost with economy of material. In this region where currents are strong during certain periods of the year, construction should be extremely sturdy and the placement critical. I see the project running for 900 days. 


High resistance floats strung on a 50mm Polyethylene rope tightly lashed with the individual compressed polyethylene old rope bodies. All potential loops in the device will be eradicated to minimise the risk of entanglement. This dynamic flexible design permits each it to act as a whip under constraint of big waves or strong currents. A 50mm mooring line made of Polyethelene (rather than steel wire) will be more resistant to corrosion. The anchoring mechanism would make use of a series of steel beams chained to each other for a total weight of 1000kg. At the bitter end of the entire device, a small mast which carries a flag and radar reflector will identify it. 


The costs incurred will be about 30 000k to create the Plastikos Island. I would be willing to invest in this idea in personal capacity but would appreciate funding options and referrals for such an out there idea. I have attached a rough drawing to better describe the design.