Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeo-plasZcene)

Kat Austen

28 October 2021


3D-Printed Object, organic material, clay pot (27 cm diameter, 20 cm high) Scientific Collaborators: Indrè Zliobaitè & Laurence Gill. Producer: Andrew Newman (Ars Electronica)

Time to Break Down (Echoes of Paleo-plasticene) addresses the life cycle of plastic in the environment by relating to a speculative past where plastic-based fungi evolved naturally.this fictional past invites visitors to realise the longevity of the material and reflect on the implications for our current and future ecosystems. Designed to be durable and non-reactive, plastic outlasts the flora and fauna around it, yet ecosystems are already adapting to this new materiality with micro-organisms evolving to feed on plastic and plants have been shown to take up microplastics in their tissues. The project’s tiny pink plastic fungi point to anthropogenic petrochemical legacies and ecologies that affect human and non-human worlds.