Think about it: can a sculpture only be an object that stands in the center of a roundabout, or in the lobby of a museum? Can it only commemorate a historical figure, or a day on the calendar? Can we imagine a sculpture that responds to society and creates a statue for an issue we care about? Such a sculpture is no longer just an object.
Disposable culture has unfortunately become part of our daily life, not only bringing serious plastic pollution to our society, but also causing irreversible damage to the ecology. When active citizens are at the beach, they often find disposable masks, lunch boxes, Styrofoam, food wrappers, and plastic bags, many of which are washed into the ocean and then washed ashore. We hope to imagine our relationship with society by using the trash that we pick up at the seaside, the objects that once gave us convenience. With these social debris, we create a sculpture that responds to ourselves and to society.
In 2023 February, our centre held a beach clean-up activity with the Centre for Cultural Studies, CUHK. There are many beach clean-up activities held by various NGOs and individuals in Hong Kong. We are facing a serious plastic pollution problem over the world. In fact, the one-day beach clean-up activity only resolves a minor part of the problem. How to map the specific localized visible problems to an overall big picture of the plastic pollution problem?
We had invited a beach clean-up professional and a community artist to the event. Participants used the waste collected on the seashores as resources and reimagine their relationship between the environment and society by co-creation of social sculpture. Through the experience of the beach clean-up session and the process of co-creation of social sculpture with the participants, we brought up the reflection on plastic pollution.
Michael is an artist/designer, researcher and university lecturer. Born in London and moved to Hong Kong in 2009, he has engaged in a diverse range of creative work, from working as a street vendor to participating in urban farming projects, from writing fiction to social practice.
Yeungs has stayed in Taiwan to participate in marine environmental education and research on marine waste pollution. His favorite marine animal is whale shark, and he has participated in whale shark research in the Marine Conservation Philippines.
She is deeply interested in the hermit crabs in Hong Kong and is working hard to document the species of hermit crabs in Hong Kong. She has returned to Hong Kong in recent years and now works as an environmental educator. In her spare time, she actively shares information about the ocean and environmental protection on online platforms. I hope to bring people closer to the ocean, so that more people can learn more about the ocean, understand it and protect it.
（IG @imsheeppoo )