THE TOXIC REEF

In the Pacific Ocean north east of Hawaii a vast island of plastic trash is accumulating. Known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this floating mass of debris is now twice the size of Texas and more than 30 metres deep. The Garbage Patch is formed by a natural confluence of ocean currents that spiral into a vast slow-moving vortex in this region. Every year humanity produces more than 100 million tons of plastic, of which it is estimated that 10% ends up in our oceans. Most plastics do not biodegrade but break up into fine particles forming a kind of part of the Hawaiian chain, beaches are periodically inundated by this toxic mess. In the ocean these particulates eventually sink to the sea floor where they will be embedded in the geological strata of our planet forming a permanent plastic layer. Meanwhile plastic trash kills an estimated million sea birds every year, along with 100,000 marine mammals.

A major element of the Crochet Coral Reef Project is its ‘plastic component’ which responds to this crisis. Where the yarn-based Reefs serve as a handicraftplastic sand. In the northern invocation of the living beauty of actual reefs, so the “Toxic Reef” is a wildly proliferating agglomeration of yarn and plastic trash. It is the ‘evil’ 21st century twin to the classical finesse of the yarn Reefs. To put this into temporal terms, we might say that where the yarn Reefs represent the past, and the exquisite creations of nature, the plastic looks to the future and to the destructive tendencies of humanity.