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"Earth Plastic View" - an art project by Branko Šmon

Making the unbelievable visible

7 billion tonnes of plastic, 14km³ volume, 1 earth

Matterhorn Art Project

MATTERHORN, NEW AMBASSADOR FOR A NEW GOBAL PLASTICAWARENESS

According to estimates by scientists, the worldwide plastics stock this year is expected to be around seven billion tonnes. Branko S?mon has set out to give people an understanding of this inconceivable magnitude. The location for his latest project, EARTH PLASTIC VIEW, is the Matterhorn - the world’s most photographed mountain. With multiple installations he makes the Matterhorn an ambassador for a new global awareness on the plastic issue. The vernissage will take place on 19 July 2019 in Zermatt/Switzerland. The project is supported, among others by the Fraunhofer Institute Plastics Research Division. EARTH PLASTIC VIEW is being mentored by the Swiss pioneer Bertrand Piccard, who circumnavigated the world in a solar-powered aircraft in 2015-16.

Vernissage „Earth Plastic View“ Matterhorn Art Project

THE MATTERHORN IS NOW AN AMBASSADOR FOR A NEW PLASTIC AWARENESS

With a view of the Matterhorn, the "Earth Plastic View" Matterhorn Art Project was inaugurated on Friday, 19.07.2019. Invited guests from Germany, Switzerland and France were offered a rich and varied programme. The mayor of Zermatt, Romy Biner welcomed the guests on behalf of Zermatt and emphasized the significance of the Matterhorn for Switzerland. The extensive topic of plastics was broadened by enriching speeches from the fields of politics, research, marine conservation and waste avoidance. Antoinette Vermilye, co-founder of the Gallifrey Foundation, Ursula Schneider Schüttel, National Councillor and President of Pro Natura, and Inga Kälber, founder of Zero Waste Germany, have illustrated with their speeches and in a joint discussion with moderator Axel Sonneborn, how red-hot and multi-layered the topic of plastics is.
The artist Branko Šmon surprised the guests with a spectacular performance straight above the Gornergrat: the MyEarthPlasticPart-cube, which symbolically baptized the Matterhorn as an ambassador for a new plastic awareness, was set down by helicopter directly in front of the Kulmhotel on the Gornergrat. The Matterhorn and "Earth Plastic View" now officially belong together!

"Earth Plastic View" art frame

Project Description

Seven biilion tonnes of plastics are in use, at disposal sites, in the countryside, in the oceans and in living beings. Based on a load-bearing bulk density, this corresponds to a volume of around 14 km3 of granular material - an actually unimaginably large amount. Large “Earth Plastic View” frames which are installed at various look-out points showcase the Matterhorn and mark out the plastic volume of 14 km3 at the Matterhorn massif. This renders the magnitude of this volume visible in the landscape around the Matterhorn. By way of contrast, the artist is placing cubes of 1,9 x 1 x m in size - the “MyEarthPlasticPart cubes” - alongside the viewing frames at a total of six points around Gornergrat. He is using these cubes filled 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 m3 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.

VOLUME OF PLASTIC TODAY AND TOMORROW

The art project “Earth Plastic View” at the Matterhorn visualises the volume of plastic that exists worldwide in granule form. The red line marks the limit of this proliferation in 2019, while the orange line indicates the level forecast for 2035.

The volume of plastic in the world in 2019 represented in granule form covers approx. 14 km3, which corresponds to the volume of the Matterhorn above an altitude of 2,600 metres across a radius of 3.78 kilometres. The summit of the Matterhorn is at the centre of this radius. The virtually superimposed red line demarcates the volume within this volume.

If we fail to alter the way we handle plastic, the volume of plastic in the world is expected to grow to around 32 km3 by 2035. This corresponds to the volume of the Matterhorn above an altitude of 2,600 metres across a radius of 5.66 kilometres. The summit of the Matterhorn is at the centre of this radius. The virtually superimposed orange line demarcates the volume within this volume.

The Volume of plastic worldwide in granule form.
Red line 2019: Volume = 14 km³
Orange line 2035: Volume = 32 km³

A perfect ambassador

"With “Earth Plastic View” I want to raise a new awareness on the plastic issue. Only in the behavior of each individual it is possible to bring about a change. The Matterhorn serves as a global symbol. On the Gornergrat I found ideal conditions for my goal: On the one hand, we are in the middle of the most beautiful nature, people are directly emotionally touched here. On the other hand, the Matterhorn stands free. The observer has an overview of the surrounding mountain landscape. In this way I can make the enormous volume visible in the first place. 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", explains the artist his choice for the Matterhorn.

Plastic facts and figures

  • The total volume of plastic produced worldwide since 1950 stands at approximately 8.3 billion tonnes.

  • Some 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had accumulated worldwide by 2015.

  • Of this total, 9% has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated to produce energy and 79% has ended up in landfills or in the environment.

  • The volume of plastic currently in use worldwide is estimated at 2.5 billion tonnes, corresponding to approx. 30% of the total plastic produced since 1950.

  • At the end of 2019, the volume of plastic in the world is expected to stand at approx. 7 billion tonnes.

  • If our consumption of plastic continues to increase at the present rate, approx. 16 billion tonnes will be produced up to 2035.

All facts and figures have been taken from the study “Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made” by Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law (2017).

Art App

Branko Šmon transcends the boundaries of traditional art. His »Earth Plastic View« Art app developed for the project takes the experience of art into a new dimension. The real-world natural horizon and the »digital horizon« blend to form a controversial new entity. The various functions of the »Earth Plastic View« Art app render the magnitude of the volume of plastic at the Matterhorn tangible to the user. The app provides a fun way of raising awareness of the issues involved and enables the scale of the global volume of plastic to be appreciated on a visual level through interactive functions. It offers a multidimensional art experience which adds a virtual level to the real-life experience of the Matterhorn.

The app works at seven look-out points and shows the extent of the volume of plastic at the Matterhorn. The red line marks the limit of this proliferation in 2019, while the orange line indicates the level forecast for 2035. The aim is to depict the inconceivable volume of plastic through the application of augmented reality within a real-world landscape, thereby opening up a new level of perception.

The photo function allows anyone to become part of the art by photographing themselves with the superimposed lines. The EPV art filter aims to prompt users to spread the project’s message globally. A realistic animation at the Matterhorn helps to impart a deeper understanding of the extent of the global volume of plastic. It also provides information about the art project, the artist and the environmental issues relating to plastic.

The app can also be used worldwide, thus propagating Branko S?mon's artistic message to create a new awareness on the plastic issue.

For every purchase, €1 is donated to innovative projects and sustainable solutions for plastic. The Art app will be available in the App Store and the Google Play Store from the opening of the project on 19 July 2019.

Animated view of the art app
A new dimension of art experience

Statement Bertrand Piccard

“Earth Plastic View” is being mentored by the Swiss pioneer Bertrand Piccard, who circumnavigated the world in a solar-powered aircraft in 2015-16. As the chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he champions the protection of the environment and supports projects and companies which develop clean and efficient solutions for the environment through the Efficient Solutions campaign.

Press kit

Mentioned below you can download easily the extensive press kit in PDF format.

Beside the press release about the vernissage at the matterhorn it inclueds the detailed project discribtion, a portrait of the artist, an interview with Branko Šmon regarding his project plus the discribtion of the art app, plastic facts and figures and information about the project partners.

Further informationen about Branko Šmon: www.brankosmon.de

Press kit

Photo & video material

Please find below photo material in highresolution for your coverage. Copyright Branko Šmon. Photos: Branko Šmon, Moritz Garhammer, Reiner Pfisterer, Mathias Wolpert.

Branko Šmon and "Earth Plastic View"

Download movie

If you are interested in more broadcasting material with statements of the artist himself and additional video clips of the helicopter flight with the “MyEarthPlasticPart-cube” over the top of the Matterhorn please do not hesitate to contact our “Earth Plastic View” team. Send us a request by email to info@earth-plastic-view.de

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