Objects Practices Photo Essays

Plasticity

by Ernest Goh

Artist and photographer Ernest Goh, as part of his residency with Exactly Foundation, created a photography series which zooms into the epic scale of plastic pollution via extreme close-up images of microplastic fragments, some just 2mm in size.

Plasticity

PLASTICITY – Photography residency with Exactly Foundation, Nov 2018.

In physics, plasticity describes the deformation of a material by an applied force. Since its first appearance in 1907, synthetic plastic has forced a permanent global change in human cultures and commerce globally. We are all addicted to plastic and the great convenience it brings us but yet plastic has also brought about catastrophic environmental pollution and potentially harmful effects on human health.

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#4 Plastic Fragment, collected from Punggol Beach, size 12mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

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#6 Microplastic Bit #06, collected from Punggol Beach, size 3mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

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#1 Microplastic Bit #01, collected from Punggol Beach, size 2mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

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#2 Microplastic Bit #02, collected from Punggol Beach, size 2mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

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#5 Microplastic Bit #05, collected from Punggol Beach, size 1.5mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

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#8 Microplastic Bit #08, collected from Punggol Beach, size 2mm
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

#14 Shore debris #1, Punggol Beach
</br>© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018
#14 Shore debris #1, Punggol Beach
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018
#15 Shore debris #2, Punggol Beach
</br>© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018
#15 Shore debris #2, Punggol Beach
© Ernest Goh, in residency with Exactly Foundation, November 2018

Love to Bits

Artist Ernest Goh writes a letter to his synthetic love  

Darling,

Did you have a good Chinese New Year? I assume you must have been very busy embracing the pomelos, biscuits, and cakes. It’s a profitable time but it must also have consumed so much of you.

Since new beginnings require just that…new beginnings, I would like to be honest with you. Your obsessive behaviour is making our relationship toxic. When I shop for groceries, not only do I see you clinging to every fruit and vegetable, you have even wrapped yourself around almost every single item on the shelf.

On the beach, I see you floating carelessly in the water and then wash up onto the shore in billions of tiny bits. Why do you never leave? You remain in the ocean for so long that marine animals suck you in, thinking you’re food! That’s the last straw for me!

Imagine how I feel when you invade the food chain and end up in my fish curry? Are you trying to make me sick – or kill me?

My friends and family love you so much that they think they can’t do without you. I’m not being jealous but can you give others a chance too? Glass, for example, is just as talented. She may be fragile but she doesn’t disintegrate and give us toxins. There’s Bamboo too. She’s tall and gangly but really very strong. Why not let them venture into people’s lives in a bigger way? You don’t have to be so possessive and be everywhere. Spreading yourself too thin will just lead you to breakdown into tiny pieces again. And guess who will have to clean up the mess bit by bit?

Can I give you some advice? Try to recharge and recycle more often and while you are at it reduce yourself. Don’t ruin your life by being cheap and useless. Be a reusable member of society and quit being self-servingly single-use. Always remember to offer yourself for a refill; otherwise you will end up buried in a landfill.

I want you to know that you’ve brought so much joy to my life. You were my toys in childhood, my stationary in school, my sugary pleasure in a bottle and at one time, almost my everything.

You made my world a better place. Your ability to make things light and flexible and not compromise on strength and clarity gave me conveniences I could only dream of.

So it really pains me to write this, but our relationship now is so much garbage and is suffocating my beloved home. We should see less of each other and find some room for more sustainable alternatives. I have to go now. I have to empty the trash.

Yours truly,
Ernest

Ernest Goh

Artist and photographer Ernest Goh's practice in the last decade has been spent looking at the environment and its creature. To him, the web of interconnectivity between our planet and its inhabitants is undeniably intimate, complicated and awe-inspiring. Ernest Goh is the founder of Ayer Ayer, an ecologically-engaged art project that reaches out to communities through visual, experiential and participatory artworks in art and science. In 2018, Ernest started studying the complications of ocean plastic pollution in Singapore.

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