Microbeplastica Carolyn Cardinet 

  Culture at Work  11 - 17 June 2017

Microbeplastica is a conceptual art project that explores the devastating impacts of human made substances on the natural world and complicates our understanding of everyday materials through a transformative process that renders them unfamiliar and ambiguous. This project evolved through a series of conversations and experiments conducted by scientists at RMIT.

Defying gravity, the work consists of six prism-like objects braced in gold and delicately suspended from above. The beauty of these objects is only defied once we discover that they house a microscopic world of bacterium, rebelling against our desire to touch or get too close. This tension highlights the intensity of society’s toxic relationship to the production of man-made materials and the often-unseen methods of dealing with waste.

The space is inscribed by a soundtrack of running water hitting the ground and a voice dictating the contaminated process of plastic decomposition in the ocean and waterways. A reminder that we are in a particularly vulnerable cycle of consumption, disposal and suffocation.

This exhibition is underscored by notions of precariousness: objects transform between states of permanence and impermanence as living organisms ferment and mutate. Here, fragility collapses into resilience as the boundaries between potential and failure are woven, highlighting the continuing limitations of material, energy and time.