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Future Shock is the theme of the tenth issue of the Istanbul & London based magazine ‘212’ – the subject is borrowed similarly titled 1970’s book by futurist writer, Alvin Toffler, in which he claims, ‘The Future Arrives too soon and in the wrong order’. This issue of ‘212’ is devoted to understanding, seeing and discussing the effect, triggers and aftermath of the ‘shock’ that was 2020.

The issue features work by East Wing artist, Mandy Barker in the article titled, “The Plastic Beginning of our End”, describing her work as ‘a confrontation of mankind’s unstoppable addition to plastic, as it resists impermanence.’

The article asks the reader to consider ‘how many plastic bottles have you held in your hand?’ reminding us that each will remain on the planet for at least 350 years and plastic bags? – 1,000 years will pass before they disintegrate (or just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces until we can’t see them anymore with the naked eye, becoming what is defined as micro plastics).

Eight million tons of plastic pour into the sea each year and remain suspended there to be consumed by sea creatures, many dying from being choked by the plastic debris .

Informed by scientific data on pollution, Mandy’s collaborative efforts with scientists, lay bare the destructive effects of plastic on marine life, and therefore, on our lives.

Mandy Barker has had the opportunity to participate with scientists on expeditions to the restricted Henderson Island, a UNSECO World Heritage site in the middle of the South Pacific in 2019. She has also been an invited artist in residencies to Lord Howe Island (also in 2019), where she shadowed scientists for 2 weeks, focusing on how plastic is killing Flesh-Footed Shearwaters – seabirds who’s stomachs are so full of plastic that they starve to death. In Ireland she revisited the pioneering discoveries made by John Vaughan Thompson in Cobh, Cork Harbour during the 1800’s on plankton, these same creatures are now are ingesting micro plastics, mistaking them for food – Plankton which are considered at the bottom of the food chain, feed bigger creatures and eventually man itself.

Mandy’s work is beautiful and haunting – documenting discarded plastics, ranging from toys and soccer balls, to tiny micro plastics that have made up some of the ingredients in face washes and toothpaste, and also strings of discarded plastic fish nets and fishing line which often snare sea creatures in torturous, often inescapable traps drowning or disabling them.

For more information on Mandy Barker’s work you can visit her website here.
To learn more about the magazine 212 you can visit them here.

Mandy Barker is represented by East Wing | Doha