An exhibition of 13 works on paper and a film by Susannah Pal inspired by the research of The Waste Management Research Group. Science and Engineering Day, 10:30 – 16:30, 7th May 2022, The University of Southampton

‘My Plastic World’ – Online Exhibition — Susannah Pal

In this exhibition, Susannah explores the absurdity of the man-made material world. Humans are the only animal on earth to make waste that doesn’t belong to the cyclical ecosystem.

Growing up in the ‘90s Susannah had an insatiable desire for brightly coloured plastic ‘tat’. But in recent years as her awareness of plastic pollution grew, she began to attach immorality to certain consumer behaviours. When plastic pollution is discussed, the focus is often on single use plastic objects. Certain plastic items are vilified and we judge consumer behaviour. As a result, we glorify recycling, a system unable to keep up with the onslaught of waste. 

In this collaboration with The Waste Management Research Group, Susannah has learnt that plastic pollution is ubiquitous – shedding while we wash the dishes, drive our car and wash our clothes. Is it possible to be a ‘good’ consumer in our modern world when modern necessities omit microplastics? And is guilt and shame ever a productive emotion?  

‘My role as an artist is not to preach or tell people what to do. I am presenting my own plastic pollution anxieties, exploring consumer dilemmas, guilt, and mortality. The film explores how plastic pollution can be so overwhelming at times, it is tempting to ignore the message altogether. How do we create the personal and political will to solve the plastic pollution crisis?’

Susannah Pal – ‘My Plastic World’ – Online Exhibition — Susannah Pal

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council via the University of Southampton’s Impact Acceleration  Account 2021 and its Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (EP/L01582X/1).

‘The Sapien, The Wasp and The Teeny Tiny Plastics’
A short story about a wasp who decides to deliver a human a few home truths. How will she react to the message she is about to receive?

Written, animated and narrated by me, Susannah Pal.
Filmed, edited and directed by Alice Fraser.
Children interacting with Susannah and drawing their reactions to the exhibition, 07.05.2022

My Plastic World – Susannah Pal

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