Economies of Scale

2013, microplastic, plastic, hydrocarbons, steel, 13″ x 213″ x 15″

This work is made of 72 specimens of ocean plastic removed from beaches of Alaska, Greece, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Italy and the Gulf of Mexico, beginning with a single styrofoam ball from a sea cave in Greece to a 15 lb. hard plastic net float from Katmai National Park beach on the Alaskan Peninsula.  The title refers to a sign posted on a blackboard in the Atlanta Trader Joe’s that said, “How can we continue to offer so much seafood at such cheap prices?  Economies of scale.”  Economies of scale is a term from microeconomics that refers to the cost advantage that arises with increased output of a product. The impacts on the world ocean are many, from overfishing to ocean acidification to the toxic army of plastic, and seeing the ocean as an economic entity is putting the future of life in danger. This work also references a timeline and points to the urgent need to transform our thinking about the ‘endlessness’ of the world ocean.

Pam Longobardi | © 2014