treasures of the plastocene

Series of objects
Plastic trash, copper, steel

All photos by the artist.

In the showcase, coloured objects are displayed whose arrangement is reminiscent of showcases in natural science museums. The objects themselves also trigger associations with objects we are familiar with from our everyday lives. Some of them show clear traces of processing, while others appear strange and can hardly be classified. Where they come from and from which time is not clearly recognizable. But they have one thing in common: the material plastic.

Daniela Schwarz creates a narrative of a dystopian future around her plastic objects, in which woman who has become homo plasticans is betrayed by their own creation. After an unspecified zero point, which has wiped out the world we know so far, the civilization that follows us is faced with the fundamental task of ensuring its continued survival. As a central resource, it has those remnants of our age at its disposal which will not have decayed even after hundreds of years. The survivors walk in the footsteps of a society whose life and work, its rituals and customs were determined by the omnipresent raw material vastite.

However, it is precisely this raw material that the artist produces herself from collected plastic scraps and plastic waste of all kinds and colours. By referring to this raw material as vastite, she consciously uses scientific language structures. At the same time, she questions the value of the material, which is cheap to produce and process, but which can ultimately cost us our living space.
In this way, experimental small sculptures are created from an incessant flood of coffee cups, fruit bags and sock wrappers. Among them are jewellery, toys and utensils up to mysterious artefacts, about whose purpose we can only speculate. These speculative finds from the archaeological sites of the future become part of the fiction of destruction and reconstruction and ask about the needs of a civilization that has to start from scratch.

In her work, Daniela Schwarz combines scientific strategies with playful approaches. In her narrative, the destruction of the environment through the excessive use of plastics results in the extinction of our society as we know it. But the darker the vision of the future, the more colourful the objects: especially in the face of dystopia, humour keeps hope alive.

Original German text by Roswitha Weingrill, translation by the artist.

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