Mandy Barker


Mandy Barker

Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals


Plankton form a diverse group of microscopic marine organisms living in the water column, not able to swim against the current; they exist in a drifting, floating, state. Unique ‘specimens’ relate to pioneering discoveries made by marine biologist John Vaughn Thompson in Cork harbor, Ireland during the 1800’s.

Presented as microscopic samples, objects of marine plastic debris, recovered from the same location, mimic Thompson’s early plankton discoveries. The project represents current scientific research that has found plankton to ingest microplastic particles, creating a perception of past scientific discoveries when these marine organisms were free from plastic.

Presenting new ‘specimens’ created from recovered debris, serves as a metaphor to the ubiquity of plastic, encapsulating in miniature the larger problem of an imperfect world. In terms of plankton, and of action, we are Beyond Drifting, and must bring into focus these Imperfectly Known Animals.


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