The Anthropocene (meaning "Age of Humanity") describes our geologic mark on the planet. Humans have altered the earth's surface and influenced earth systems, including the atmosphere, hydrologic cycles, geology and biodiversity. The Anthropocene sculpture featured Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man with bicycle-powered lights and tubes of microbeads coursing through his body. Designed by 5 Gyres Research Director and Co-Founder Dr. Marcus Eriksen, this interactive piece told the story of how plastic pollution not only threatens our planet, but also human health, as plastics absorb toxins, are ingested by marine life—and end up in our food. Visitors were encouraged to hop on the bicycles to power up the piece—which also included an iPad kiosk featuring our microbeads video—and then take the #beadfree pledge.
Plastic Waters Exhibit (2013-2018)
The Plastic Waters Exhibit was created by Dr. Eriksen with support from the California Coastal Commission and then toured North America, thanks to the generosity of the Great Lakes Alliance. The exhibit consisted of plastic artifacts from around the world including a small fishing boat from the Japanese tsunami, a 45 pound calcified mass of plastic bags recovered from the stomach of a camel in the desert of Dubai, and artwork including face casts of notable scientists and conservationists—including Dr. Charles Moore, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Dr. Hidshege Takada—constructed with plastic marine debris.