Dumpster dive

A critical VR installation to visualize plastic pollution of the oceans

At the current rate of pollution the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050. By overfishing and polluting we are essentially replacing sea life with plastic. This gave me an idea for an immersive art project to examine the issue:

What if …

organic matter turned into plastic


I built an artificial kelp forest out of plastic packaging. To imitate the structure of the kelp I cut trashed plastic into thin strips to be submerged underwater. The strips were arranged to build an underwater scenery in a dumpster filled with water. The scene was then filmed with a 360° camera. This kind of footage allows for display in VR headsets and could, thus, enable an immersive experience of the environment. Much of the intrigue of this concept lies in the fact that users would not initially grasp fully what they are looking at without prior knowledge of the process. 

It would be interesting to see the resulting VR experience implemented in an exhibition setting. The conceptual interest lies on two levels: The “dive” in an artificial ocean as well as the assumption of ultimate accountability. By looking around, the user can learn the names of imaginary perpetrators for each piece of plastic.


First stage

Orientation and exploration by turning one’s head

Second stage

Selection of individual strings of plastic to identify their origin.