In response to the estimated 150 million tons of plastic trash currently in the ocean, Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm StudioKCA has created an incredible installation for the Bruges Triennial. Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale) is a 38-foot-tall whale fabricated from 5 tons of plastic waste fished from the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. As a stunning commentary on our current environmental state, the sculpture is a powerful reminder of what we are pumping into our oceans.
Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, heads of StudioKCA, were drawn to the form of a whale to go in tandem with the Triennial’s theme “liquid city.” The whale itself becomes a vehicle for thinking about how the consumption and production of urban centers ends up in the ocean.
“Pound for pound, there is more plastic waste from our cities swimming in the ocean than there are whales,” the Studio wrote. “A whale, breaching from the water, is the first ‘skyscraper of the sea,’ and as the largest mammal in the water, it felt like the right form for our piece to take in order to show the scope and scale of the problem.”
StudioKCA collaborated with Hawaii Wildlife Fund to collect all the plastic used in Skyscraper over a period of 4 months. After sorting the plastic by size and color, as well as working on the engineering of the internal steel structure, the firm ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for the fabrication and shipping of the enormous installation.
Now, Skyscraper leaps from the Bruges canal with four stories worth of plastic reflecting in the calm waters. Towering over the crowds who gather to view the work, it casts a looming shadow as a physical manifestation of what we are discarding into the sea.
Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale) is visible near Bruges’s Jan Van Eyck statue as part of the Bruges Triennial, which runs until September 16, 2018.