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Art meets Marine Litter
The Conference is supported by several artists whom we would like to present:                                                                  

  Gerhard Bär

German artist and designer, lives in Berlin.

Art has been used as a means to communicate and convey messages throughout history up to the beginning of the modern age. The present situation of art leaves the approach of l`art pour l`art and devotes itself to the social-cultural challenges and problems of its age. As an artist I take responsibility by using art as a means of communicating urgent problems in social policy. Again and again, the subject is the creation of awareness and the perception of the observer - thinking about things, how they are made, used, their origins, their significance and their future - to communicate a subject without a raised forefinger, so that the observers create a link between this realization and a strong experience of art. Exactly this leaves the visitors with the decisive questions:

Why is it this way and how come?

This moment is the starting-point of every communication:

“Real interest”

1992: co-founder and member of baer + knell design with objects in public and private collections. See

2006: first cleaning action, Tibet, Mount Everest National Park

2008: co-founder of fair ethics together with Wolf Guenter Thiel

Since 2010: Social Plastics

'Social Plastics' is an art intervention to raise awareness with the intention to create a worldwide network to implement social, humanitarian, environmental and recycling projects.

Previous projects in: Mexico / Mexico-City, Puerto Vallarta, Tehuamixtle, Tonala. Syria/ Damascus, Germany/ Berlin, Hamburg. Montenegro/Albania ;

Everything revolves around the principle of plastic recycling. What could convey the message of the problematic nature of taking care of trash better than the trash itself?



Mexiko 2011, UNAM


  Mandy Barker

Mandy Barker is a photographer based in the UK, and since graduating from a Masters Degree in Photography at De Montfort University in 2011 her series SOUP has received international recognition, being published in over 20 countries. Her work has featured in publications from Time Magazine and The Financial Times to The Explorers Journal US. Mandy was nominated in 2012 and again in March of this year for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award, the world’s leading photographic award in sustainability.

Last year Mandy was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Environmental Bursary which enabled her to join scientists aboard a Plastic Research Expedition sailing from Japan to Hawaii through the Tsunami Debris Field in the Pacific Ocean. This opportunity created a solid foundation for her next project and continuing work.

Being drawn to the sea from an early age and collecting natural objects along the shoreline, I began to notice an increasing amount of debris, especially plastic, littering the beaches. After further research into how plastic affects marine life, ultimately entering the food chain, was an issue I felt I could not turn away from. The impact of marine plastic is an
 area that I am committed and determined to pursue through visual interpretation. If my images have the power to move people to act, or at the very least take notice, then this will have achieved my aim.

See also



Soup: Refused, 2011.

Ingredients; plastic oceanic debris affected by the chewing and attempted ingestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Additives; teeth from animals
  Swaantje Güntzel

Swaantje Güntzel grew up in Detmold (Westphalia/Germany). Before entering the School of Fine Arts in Hamburg 2005, she lived and worked several years abroad (Mexico/Bolivia) and completed a Master’s Degree in Anthropology. She worked as the assistant to Andreas Slominski and has been exhibited in Germany as well as abroad, e.g.: Art Museum Celle/Germany, Biennial of Contemporary Art Cochabamba/Bolivia, GrensWerte Germany/Netherlands. During the last few years she has received various residency grants, mainly in northern Europe (Bergmangårdarna på Fårö/Sweden, DIVA/Danish Arts Council, platform Vaasa/Finland).

"The main subject of my work is the dissection of the alienated interrelation of man and nature. I analyze the attitude and self-concept of humans while interacting with their environment, revealing our projection of nature based on a fear-driven desire for complete control. By slightly overdrawing/fragmenting everyday realities, I want to expose the inconsistencies of our actions and the hypocrisy of our value system where cruelty to animals and the exploitation of the environment have never been executed on a higher level, while at the same time people have never been more convinced of their passion for nature."

See also



stomach contents, 2010
plastics, metal

19 x 16,5 x 42,6 cm
  Angelika Heckhausen

My first contact with marine plastic garbage happened 4 years ago in Fuerteventura on a beach with almost black sand. There I found perfect, aesthetically colorful drift lines, thousands of pieces of plastic in all colors and shapes, fascinating and terrifying.

I started to investigate where it comes from and how it impacts the marine system. I have gotten more and more into the whole problem of marine debris and marine plastic, especially micro plastic.

As an artist I try to contribute my part to inform, educate and promote awareness of people for these problems. For me, art is the ideal way to work on this aim. In several exhibitions I have been able to reach a lot of people in a different way compared to pure scientific expertise.

This is my way forward and it´s still a long way to find realistic solutions.

See also



Fisch-Fraß, 2010
85 x 42 x 10 cm
Glass, china, pebble stone, shell, marine and river litter

  Donlon Dance Company / Ballet of the Saarland State Theatre

Since Marguerite Donlon was appointed director of the Ballet of the Saarland State Theatre/Donlon Dance Company, the ensemble has established itself as one of the most innovative contemporary dance companies in Germany. Today it is recognized as a highly technical and artistic dance ensemble that excites ballet and dance rapture among a remarkably heterogeneous audience. Over the past ten years the company has gained international acclaim – invitations to numerous appearances throughout Europe, Asia and the US testify to that.

Donlon's artistic and innovative style, her Irish humour and her interest on the interconnection with the different art forms not only attracts audiences, but also dancers of the highest caliber. Complementary to her work as director and choreographer in Saarbrücken, Donlon has been creating for numerous renowned ballet companies worldwide, amongst them the Nederlands Dans Theater II, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Hubbard Street Dance Company, Chicago, and most recently the Rambert Dance Company, London.

“I had the great pleasure to meet David de Rothschild and hear him speak about the problems of plastic in our oceans. Following this initial information I was shocked with the sad reality and felt I had to address the problem through my media, dance.

My concept for "Blue" was to represent nature with its incredible beauty and at the same time to communicate the shocking facts of damage plastic is causing to our environment.

There is a strong presence of young people in the piece which is emphasizing that we need to do something for our children and children's children. So I created Plastic Ocean, a sculpture project, to attract young people, the ones who will be inevitably affected by this problem. This project needed the help of thousands of young people to complete the sculpture by collecting plastic bottle tops to fill the interior of it. As soon as the bottle tops enter the sculpture they have a new value. Parts of the sculpture were symbolically sold to banks and big companies (e.g. Villeroy & Boch), showing that it is possible to give plastic a new worth thus avoiding waste. More than 70,000 plastic bottle tops were collected by the youth of Saarland and the money raised went to a dance project for handicapped young people.”

            Marguerite Donlon - Ballet Director & Chief Choreographer

See also:



© all Photos Bettina Stöß

  Museum für Gestaltung Zürich: Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project

For once the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich turns the focus on the end of the design history of useful objects: the center of the exhibition “Out to Sea?” and the symbol of the ecological catastrophe is an installation of plastic flotsam from the world’s various seas. Cooperation partners collected the plastic debris in cleanup campaigns in Hawaii, in the North Sea and the Baltic. The origins, life cycle, sense and senselessness of plastic products can be traced from the pieces displayed. Alongside puzzling objects from the fishing industry, we find familiar everyday objects, such as plastic cups or toothbrushes, which show clear signs of having drifted around in salt water and of their encounters with sea creatures. As standard plastic is not biodegradable, it gets broken up into increasingly smaller pieces and enters the food chain. And so, at the end, we find the garbage back on our plates, with alarming consequences for our health. Following the exhibition in Zurich and Hamburg the show will tour Europe and will be presented in around 10 other museums.

An online platform created for the exhibition provides in-depth information about the show, the wide-ranging education program, and the most important themes in relation to plastic. One can learn more about the international tour, follow how the project develops, and give your own opinion:

Ever since mass-produced plastic products have made our lives easier, the sea has gradually begun to change into a gigantic soup of plastic – today not a single square kilometer of seawater is free of plastic particles. As standard plastic is not biodegradable, these pieces are broken up into constantly smaller pieces and enter the food chain. And so the garbage ends up on our plates, with serious consequences for our health.

The exhibition illustrates the background to the problem and the fatal impact on the seas, animals and humans. The most widely used plastics are presented; questions about consumption, health hazards, microplastic, material cycles or bioplastics are spotlighted. Additionally local and international efforts at finding a solution, such as reducing, recycling, reusing, are shown. These are intended to cause us to reflect and, ultimately, to take action.

An exhibition by the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich -

Exchange also takes place on the Facebook page and

YouTube:, a video about the exhibition can also be found here:


Endstation Meer



The Conference Report is online here.

The "Message from Berlin" is online here.

The final version of the Issue Paper is online here.

Marine Litter Conference on Twitter