As a primary step in our “Climate” campaign, we entered discussions with the Royal Hibernian Academy, one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Ireland, to produce & exhibit a macro scale mural in their atrium space. The opportunity to create artwork for such an influential institution within Ireland’s artistic scene was momentous, and we wanted to use this opportunity to raise an issue that was imperative to us: microplastic pollution.
Plastic is one of the most ubiquitous substances on earth, yet is nearly impossible to destroy. It is shredded into smaller pieces, known as microplastics. From a microscopic assessment of samples collected from our ocean, it is evident the degradation of plastics has created trillions of shards of microplastics. We wanted to present the collision of nature and waste, and the canvas with which the RHA provided us was ideal for this presentation. The issue is universal and highly convoluted. As an artist collective which primarily produces large format artwork on Dublin’s streets, we desired the prominence of space in a prestigious art gallery to demand the attention of a wider audience and force this issue into the public realm.
Once we had proposed the creation of artwork in the gallery, we decided to place focus on the research that would inform the mural we would be creating. We visited Dublin Bay and collected a panoply of plastic materials which had ended up on the beach and in the water. We wanted to explore these materials on a deeper scale and understand the substance which is so evidently permeating our planet.
We reached out to Trinity’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, who granted us permission to use their facilities to explore the microscopic structure of samples collected from our ocean. It became abundantly clear that the universality of microplastic can only be truly understood through a microscope. The collection of visual imagery in the lab provided crucial inspiration for our art practice.
A concept design was established and drew inspiration from the notable shapes, textures and vivid colours presented through plastic microscopically. The main artwork concept set out to dwarf the audience with imagery, demanding the consideration of our societal actions. The artwork was completed over a seven day period, using the medium of acrylic spray paint. Production took place on-site in the Royal Hibernian Academy. We created a name for the piece, and the body of work itself: “Micro vs. Macro”.
On 19th September 2019, the private launch of our exhibition took place in the RHA Gallery. We designed a visual identity for the project which was used on invitations and materials used to promote
the exhibition. Hundreds of people attended the launch of “Micro vs. Macro”. The evening was a major success, with the highly topical nature of the artwork gaining exposure through the prominence of the institution in which it was displayed.
We photographed our processes in the lab, and created compositions of items gathered on the beach, which were edited and sold as limited edition prints online, and were available to purchase at the opening of “Micro vs. Macro”. Funds generated from the sale of these prints go towards the continuation of our “Climate” campaign.
We documented our processes from beginning to end and created a short video which chronicled “Micro vs. Macro”.
Our artwork has been widely shared on social media and in the press. Our content has received exposure on a variety of strategically selected distribution networks including; High Snobiety, District Magazine, RTÉ, The Irish Times. Our efforts have been extensively chronicled through media articles from international publications to highly popular blogs and social channels. The series has amassed thousands of impressions across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We feel that this project is a global engagement opportunity.
Our “Micro vs. Macro” exhibition in the Royal Hibernian Academy was a defining moment for our collective and our “Climate” campaign. The reaction from our audience was significant, with an outpouring of support for the cause, expressed both at the exhibition and online. The opportunity to present artwork in the RHA Gallery was pivotal, and we are driven to use prominent cultural spaces like the gallery as a medium to engage the public with real issues. This project is a testament to the importance of using art in dealing with topics which we, as a society, have become selectively blind to.
It is important to destabilise the preconception that humans have control over what we create. We cannot become desensitised to how deep plastic leaches biodiversity & life out of the environment.
“Micro vs. Macro” was available to view in the RHA Gallery until 26th January 2020.
Check out our other Art work here.
- Royal Hibernian Academy, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2.
- September 2019.
- Large Format Interior Artwork.