About the Plastiglomerate phenomenon The earth has responded to the huge amounts of plastic waste in oceans by making a new rock. The plastiglomerate is a recent geological phenomenon that was found at Kamilo Beach in Hawaii (2012) by geologists Patricia L. Corcoran, Charles J. Moore and Kelly Jazvac. It was coined ‘plastiglomerate’ and categorized as a new stone type as well as the first material evidence of the Anthropocene. The plastiglomerate consists of waste polymers from oceans and natural sediments. It’s formed by the plastic that washes up on the coast and is mixed together with sand, shells and driftwood. It’s speculated that the plastic melts because of bonfires on the beach then fuses with natural sediments. The scientists define plastiglomerate as “an indurated, multi-composite material made hard by agglutination of rock and molten plastic”. So in other words the plastiglomerate is a material of both human and geological processes.
The idea is to create a future building material by mimicking geological processes at a minor scale: erosion, heat, pressure, fusing, mixing. Can the plastiglomerate phenomenon be useful as a future building material? Through the project the aim is to raise awareness about the phenomenon and discuss the following: What does a balanced planet look like? Can we speak of equality in relation to the biological economy of the earth? Does equality play a role in our thinking about environmental resources? How will the natural economic balance look like in the future?
Process Producing bricks (in collaboration with senior researcher Yang Zhang and students at DTU) by fusing different fragments of plastic objects with elements from nature. For this process, a hot embossing machine will be used, where pressure and heat can be applied at the same time. By adding recognizable components like a toothbrush, a water bottle or plastic gloves and mixing them together with sand, sea shells and stone, the building product will also be a representation of the cultural and geological forces behind its making.
Construction At the festival these bricks will be used for building a bench that reminds us of a ruin or crater. It will be built with reclaimed bricks (112 years old bricks from a Copenhagen chimney, showing the marks of countless fires) and new fabricated bricks. The bench is both a construction to walk in/on and to sit on.
Text from Veronika Geiger