.debris. is an international, collaborative project which is being created as a response to the issues surrounding single use plastic. The work reflects the literal problem of plastic in marine environments while offering a symbolic representation of the chemical body burdens carried by wildlife and humans alike. In presenting these issues, we are asked to consider misplaced notions of “disposability” calling in to question consumer driven waste which has devalued what is in fact a very important material.

Collaborate: Make a Fish

Explore the impacts of plastic on the Marine Food Web by creating a marine creature in a way that incorporates plastic. A large array of fish, crustaceans, birds and mammals all make up the web. They are universally affected by plastic debris and develop chemical body burdens from toxins carried by plastic.

To release your creature into the ‘Ocean’ art installation, send a .jpg of your piece to the.debris.project@gmail.com, or tag it in Instagram @the_debris_project.

Making fish at the Chateau de la Napoule, France
Making fish at the Chateau de la Napoule, France

Once released into the ‘Ocean’, the images are transferred onto re-purposed foamcore and used as the base of interactive installations that are set up in educational institutions and gallery exhibitions. Similar to the processing of material in the actual ocean, participants are invited to contribute to the ebb and flow of the creative act. Images that are a part of the collaborative installation are replicated, transferred, redistributed, distressed, and reworked by collaborators as the work itself takes on a life of its own. If they wish, participants and organizations are credited for their contributions online. Contact artists directly if you are interested in purchasing original works.

Platform for Exchange:
Cultivating Creative Ecologies

In addition to the physical installation, this site serves as a forum to share creative ways of effectively engaging people around the issues of plastic pollution.

Stories gathered from all over the world are presented here in a way that inspires creative acts that inspire reconsideration of our ‘disposable’ culture which is largely founded on material waste. Instead, we may recognize the value of materials that fill our lives and work towards refreshing the way we consume them so that we leave less of an ecological impact in our wake. Maintaining an open ended structure, the project works on a local level by serving as an educational tool which may be incorporated into programs maintained by collaborators at a grassroots level. As the work engages participation in different geographies, the project shifts to respond to the particularities of place. It draws inspiration from practiced wisdom and suggests ways to improve the daily consumption of plastic. Through the process, participants learn about how we contribute to the problem and how we are directly impacted, even if we live inland. The project works towards shifting misplaced cultural notions of waste with the intention to limit the amount of plastic pollution at the source. By gathering a wide range of geographic representations, the overall project represents the universality of plastic pollution from grounded points of view. Through this discourse, our aim is to develop and practice of the most effective solutions to reducing the ecological and health impacts of plastic.

Creative Ecologies

explore .debris.

.debris. installations


Hands on Education

  • Voces en Aumento: Voices Rising
    Arts Educator, Kristen Heeres shares her methods of building access to experiential education for under-served students at the Denver Aquarium
  • Art Relief International
    Art director Emma Gabriel shares her reflections in bringing the Debris Project into schools across Chiang Mai
  • Passions with a Purpose
    Programs developed at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver