We live on an ocean planet.
97% of Earth's water is found in our oceans: vast expanses stretching across nearly three-quarters of the world. Our deep, shared connection to the ocean is not always obvious in daily life, even though 80% of humans live within a day's drive of the coast. But half the oxygen breathed by all living beings is generated from the sea. One third of humanity relies on fish to sustain themselves.
The health and vitality of our planet's oceans is absolutely essential to our own, personal, ability to thrive.
The Ghost Net Landscape interactive installation is a call to action that begins with what we have: a massive supply of fishing gear, from "ghost net" lost at sea to responsibly recycled material from commercial fisheries. This is the exhibit's jumping-off point for imagining radical hope, creating positive transformation and engaging collaborative creativity.
Ghost Net Landscape is an art installation and performance, inviting the community to collaborate by transforming fishing rope waste into artwork. Join me (artist Emily Miller) for this traveling art installation with 1,000+ pounds of fishing rope debris. I'll be working in the exhibit space, making baskets on my sewing machine and inviting everyone to participate in transforming this marine debris into art!
photo book: 2019 exhibits
During each exhibit, the community is invited to participate in collecting and transforming materals.
COLLECT: Gather ghost net from the beach, and salvage retired net and long line from local fisheries
CREATE: Untangle and unwind fishing rope... Take home materials... Explore a new material to make art... Lead collaborative work in your specialty!
Ghost net is one of the most abundant and dangerous sources of marine debris in our oceans.
This lost or abandoned fishing gear makes up 46% of the mass in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where it entangles wildlife and disintegrates into microplastics, affecting every level of the food web and marine ecosystem.
Since 2015, I have created machine-stitched baskets from this fishing rope washed up on the coastlines of Oregon, Kauai, and Maine. The collection site of each rope tells its own unique story about the effects of coastal industry on local and global scales.
In 2018, I pulled rope from a massive environment created from two tons of ghost net, hauled off Kauai's beaches by Surfrider Kauai in just two months.
This experience directly inspired the Ghost Net Landscape installation. By bringing the pile into the gallery, the project shares its powerful physical presence - a small fraction of what washes ashore every day. What happens to the material after it is removed from the ocean is a work in progress. Ghost Net Landscape seeks to discover how much artwork I can create from the mass, and to show how much more can be done when we work together.
Worldwide, I've seen a variety of evolving solutions. Companies are melting down ocean plastic for use in products like skateboards, shoes, and building bricks. Some places (including Hawaii) incinerate it in modern waste-to-energy facilities. And more and more artists are taking advantage of marine debris in their work!
Check out Splash Trash on Instagram for over 200 artists making incredible art with marine debris worldwide!
Find the full story on my website at ejmillerfineart.com/sculpture/ghost-net-baskets.
© 2020 Emily Miller fine art - Ocean-inspired artwork from Oregon & Kauai.