The "Blue Wave" sculpture acts as a representation of the modern, wasteful, single-use plastics culture of today. Specifically, the hard plastics that make up this sculpture were harvested out of the waste (trash bags and dumpsters) that is accumulated during a 24-hour period—for this project, the site was Pratt Institute Brooklyn campus. It is striking that this large of a sculpture can be constructed every 24 hours, just from hard plastics that is accumulated from everyday student (human) habits. This trend begs the question, how can city-wide zero-waste goals (such as NYC's 0x30 goal) be achieved without first influencing a major living culture switch—from single-use consumer-minded habits to adopting a resourceful, community caring and sharing perspective?
The "Blue Wave" sculpture and movement was created with collaboration between Samuel Pressman (lead sculptor and school tour manager), Isil Akgul (concept and vision lead), Summer Sandoval (social media lead), and Tina Pastore (outreach and content lead), who formed the 2018-19 Leaders in Environmental Advocacy at Pratt (LEAP) student organization. Other volunteer undergrad and graduate students also took part in the campus art project during "Blue Week" 2018. The art work was designed to be a modular educational piece that alludes to the concepts of sustainability, zero-waste, ocean plastics pollution, and climate change as a whole. The sculpture measures roughly 9 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft, and contains over 10,000 pieces of single-use hard plastics—with each piece harvested and washed by hand. It is designed to act like a large puzzle, with six detachable sections for easy removal and transportation. The sculpture is also covered with an almost invisible net to ensure stability, safety, and no falling pieces during transportation or display.
Samuel's mission aligns with LEAP's mission—to utilize such projects educational tools to create awareness between students, faculty, and their schools, followed by their community, and consequently by their planet. The sculpture is an essential part the larger global campaign against unnecessary plastic waste pollution, influenced by fossil fuel industry and still largely supported by so many governments. Initiatives to begin creating a culture switch can include incentivized challenges for students, such as pledging against single-use plastic for a whole week, or carrying a reusable water bottle to reduce consumption and help save money—or even counter the overwhelming belief that tap water is poisonous, and so buying bottled water is the only option ; the reality is that tap water today is largely safe, including NYC having perhaps the cleanest tap water in the world for any major city. Through waste stream-to-art projects like the "Blue Wave", educational impact school tours, and inclusive community engagement, we hope to generate eco-awareness movements that can reach youth, schools, and public spaces through NYC and the world.
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