Within the framework of the digital platform, the project focuses on the exceptional and only recently discovered phenomenon of pyroplastics. These are special items made wholly of plastics that primarily stem from the manufacturing of mass-produced goods from the mid-twentieth century. As carelessly discarded waste, the plastic elements were subsequently exposed to maritime weather conditions for decades, over the course of which they steadily took on the visual appearance of natural stones. However, due to their external appearance, they now accumulate unnoticed on numerous beaches and coastal regions across the world. From this perspective, pyroplastic can be thought of as an originally artificial element that, through succeeding processes, gradually has become an inextricably part of our nature.
On a further note, the existence of these synthetic stones refers in a direct manner to the consequences of the excessive use of plastics, for which the industrial production has exploded from 2.3 million tonnes in 1950 to an estimated 448 million tonnes in 2015. Yet, in addition to the problem of plastic pollution, the production of plastics concurrently involves an intensive use of natural resources whereby mineral oil still assumes a primary role within today‘s manufacturing processes. Thus, the phenomenon of pyroplastics as well is closely connected with the diverse environmental intrusions that come from the global extraction and distribution cycles of crude oil. In light of such aspects, it becomes apparent that the occurrence of these synthetic stones illustrates the present dissolution of boundaries between artificial and natural materials in a multi-layered manner. But what significance does pyroplastic as a material repository of modern cultural and natural history imply? To what degree does it reveal new perspectives on the current problem areas surrounding ecological destruction? And could pyroplastic possibly even be considered a potential future resource that can be reintegrated into the market from nature through visionary recycling concepts?
Tying in with these questions, the modular and continuously expanding platform investigates the phenomenon of pyroplastic from various perspectives. Deepwater Horizon, for example, concerns the manifestation of tarballs, which is typically a reference to clumps of weathered oil that stem from a chemical interaction between crude oil, seawater and sun during oil spills. This topic is supplemented by an archive list in which an algorithm constantly produces data on pertinent oil disasters of the past and present. Contrastingly, Hardshell, Silverstone Supra and DuPont Beachrock bring different types of pyroplastic to the fore and examine them in terms of their material, aesthetic, and historical attributes. By intertwining the images with textual elements, systemic and personal links associatively become apparent. In addition to that, fictional future scenarios explore the long-term effects of pyroplastics on affected seashores and ecosystems in a speculative manner.