Ground to Ground

Coffee cup joins mutant pollutants in Melbourne artwork

One flat white to go with no sugar!

A creepy sea creature shaped like a disposable coffee cup is part of designer Porky Hefer’s art installation, Plastocene – Marine Mutants from a Disposable World. It’s on display at the National Gallery of Victoria, as one of the works commissioned for the Melbourne-based gallery’s Triennial exhibition.

The mutated cup is accompanied by an array of similarly supersized underwater creatures. Each is made from recycled materials that can only be identified on closer inspection.

In the centre of the room, an eerie a 14m wide octopus straddles tentacles made of felt-covered cigarette butts across the gallery floor. The Suckerfish sculpture, made of 120 crocheted straws, lurks close by.

The Plastocene installation imagines a future where years of rubbish being thrown into the world’s oceans has resulted in plastics and pollutants fusing with organic DNA to form new life forms. The works were constructed in South Africa by more than 80 crafters across 6 studios.

On the day of our visit, gallery assistants had to do their best to stop visitors from climbing onto the creatures. With so many textures to explore, it was difficult for the guests to keep their hands off the sculptures.

The NGV Triennial features 87 projects by artists from 33 countries and runs at 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne until 18 April 2021.

Article and images by Ilana Rochelle Abratt for Ground to Ground.


Ilana is a product planner and content strategist from Melbourne, Australia
For links to previous work, see Courageous Content.

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