In Beyond Drifting, Mandy Barker traces the footsteps of 19th century botanist John Vaughan Thompson.
Thompson collected and studied plankton, the ocean’s most basic life form, at Cobh, Cork Harbour, in Ireland. When Barker visited this site, her search revealed plastic wiring, fragments of bottles, discarded limbs of plastic dolls and other items now commonplace in our seas.
Barker photographed the plastic objects as pseudo-scientific specimens, drawing parallels between Thompson’s findings and her own. She highlights the similarities between the plankton and plastic which both now form the basis of our food chain.
Barker devised new scientific names for each ‘specimen’. These imitate original Latin words, and incorporate the word ‘plastic’.
Listen to Barker talk about this series of work: