Matterhorn becomes global ambassador of plastic waste crisis

Slovenian artist Branko Šmon is transforming Switzerland’s most famous mountain into an ambassador for a new global awareness on plastic waste. His Matterhorn art project “Earth Plastic View” was presented to the public last Friday.

Branko Šmon has turned the world’s most photographed mountain into an “ambassador for a new global awareness” on plastic waste. In an interview, he says that his aim is to “visualise something inconceivable”: the seven billion tonnes of plastic waste now in the countryside, oceans, landfills and in use throughout the world. His solution is to represent this volume in granular form, covering some 14 cubic kilometres — which will rise to 32 cubic kilometres in 2035 if the world fails to take action.

Four large “Earth Plastic View” frames have been set up at various look-out points around the Matterhorn to focus attention on the plastic volume. By way of contrast, he is placing cubes of around two metres in size alongside the viewing frames, filling them with plastic objects, ground plastic and plastic granules to establish a link between the global consumption of plastic in granule form and the individual. Their volume of 1.9 cubic meters corresponds to every individual’s share in the worldwide volume of plastic in granule form on the basis of a current global population of 7.64 billion.

Šmon also developed an interactive “Earth Plastic View” app for the project to render the magnitude of the volume of plastic at the Matterhorn tangible to the user. It offers a multidimensional art experience, adding a virtual level to the real-life experience of the Matterhorn.

According to the artist, the Matterhorn serves as a global symbol: “Through the vastness of the landscape and the beauty of nature, I create an important link between an awareness of the extent of the problem and the power of natural beauty.”

Image credit: Branko Šmon


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