Marine plastic waste photographed by Mandy Barker looks alien and beautiful

The exhibition “NET, Mandy Barker & CNR - Institute of Marine Sciences”, by British photographer Barker who documents plastic pollution in the seas, together with a project coordinated by CNR to recycle fishing nets, opens in Venice at gallery D3082.

Mandy Barker, “SOUP: Bird’s Nest”

Mandy Barker works closely with scientists and ocean missions around the world. Her images contain a strong contradiction: they are aesthetically appealing but speak of an ecological disaster. Her work makes the fragments of what we have left in the water look like wonderful objects, but at a close look they ask the viewer to become aware and act, even in the first person.

In the images on display, the remains of fishing nets and plastic filaments replace – with disturbing naturalness – the life of the oceans, the fauna of the seas.

Abandoned fishing gear, accidentally lost or deliberately thrown into the sea by fishermen, represents a high percentage of the plastic debris present in the seabed. Hence the project developed by a team, mostly women, of the Institute of Marine Sciences, CNR - National Research Council for large-scale monitoring of the seabed by means of acoustic mapping, in search of the so-called “ghost nets”. Since 2019, two pilot sites have been monitored in the Northern Adriatic Sea: in the Lagoon of Venice and in the Cres and Lošinj archipelago in Croatia.

An essential part of this project is the transformation of recovered materials, with the aim of transforming waste into a resource for greater economic, environmental and social benefit. The portable prototype of the machinery developed in the project transforms the plastic material into certified marine fuel at a low cost. The aim is to promote change also in the behaviour of fishermen towards good practices while developing, at the same time, a circular economy.

NET, Mandy Barker & CNR – Institute of Marine Sciences
Domus Civica, San Polo 3082, Venezia
form 27-11-2020 until 28-2-2021
CNR - Istituto di Scienze Marine di Venezia, in collaboration with Laguna Project s.n.c, Blue World Institute, Sintol S.r.l., Techeprojects S.r.l.s.
Fondo Europeo per gli Affari Marittimi e la Pesca

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