Julia Barton sent us the following information on her current work:
Artist Julia Barton is presently collecting classifying samples of a new rock now found on beaches in the remotest places on the North West Coast and Shetland, the rocks have become the focus of her Littoral Art Project which is investigating beach litter around Scotland.
Littoral meaning, the zone between the low and the high tide marks.
In 2013 a Canadian geological team named this rock ‘Plastiglomerate’ a category now acknowledged by scientists as a geological marker of our time (the Anthropocene) . These ‘rocks’ lumps of melted plastic are now common on some beaches, as people turn to burning the increasing volumes of plastic waste which accumulates on beaches. Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic reaches the world’s ocean and 100,000 sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales die from eating plastic according to the Marine Conservation Society.
The ‘plastic rocks’ are difficult to distinguish from natural beach rocks, and often go un-noticed, each has a unique molecular composition, their toxicity and timeline is unknown. The ‘rocks’ collected will be used to construct the principal piece of an exhibition opening at Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum – 8th Oct-12 Nov and at An Talla Solais Caledonian Gallery in 2017 (dates to be confirmed).
It is intended that the exhibition will then travel to Edinburgh and internationally. Julia is presently producing a ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ to accompany the exhibition. This exhibition has received part funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding.
Littoral Art Project was set up in 2013 by artist Julia Barton in response to her fear of drowning in litter which she experienced whilst walking on a beach on the North West coast of Scotland. Since then Julia has surveyed and mapped litter on over 20 Scottish beaches engaging local communities in her interactive investigations some of which can be viewed
The aim of the project and exhibition is to encourage understanding of the threat that beach and marine litter presents and to promote change by allowing people to see litter in different ways and consider the long term environmental implications.