Entanglement is a series of large photographs by Michael J.P. Hall exploring our entangled relationship with waste plastics. The series features original costumes and set pieces created from recovered plastics.  Entanglement is exhibiting at Telus World of Science in Vancouver until September 2013.


Michael’s Artist Statement:
Entanglement is a series of large photographs produced and envisioned by Vancouver artist Michael Hall currently on display at Telus World of Science. The series captures a fictional culture of people who inhabit, dress, and survive in a world of plastic waste. The work challenges our current relationship with disposable plastics, while suggesting a culturally unified response to the global issue of dependence upon single-use plastics.

I envisioned Entanglement as a vehicle to inform and educate the public on our relationship with waste, without being combative or scolding. I think really effective activist art must have beauty and hope at its core, even when addressing serious subject matters.
The series of large photographs captures a fictional culture of people who inhabit, dress and survive in a world of plastic waste. The work challenges our current relationship with disposable plastics and suggests a culturally unified response to this global issue.

My vision was to create a cultural pastiche, informed and guided by the plastic waste that was collected. I was inspired by warrior garments of the world’s cultures including Mayan, feudal Japanese, Cree, Blackfoot, and Viking cultures. In referencing such cultural dress, and using these as a platform on which to inform the plastic discoveries, my intention was to create a global and culturally unified front to the issue of plastic waste.

Link to Michael J.P. Hall’s Entanglement webpage. The site will become a resource for those interested in learning about our relationship with plastics, its merrits and issues and what we can do about it in our daily lives.
Launch date: September 2013.

Nita’s Artist Statement:
At first glance in the photographs, these garments appear organic, much like birds feathers or cloth. On closer inspection however, we see that they are made entirely of waste plastics. Designed to integrate visually with the natural world, these garments are also constructed to enhance the longevity and strength of the material itself.

MATERIALS: polythene sheeting plastic bottles and food containers nylon packing binding other scavenged plastics

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES: weaving, braiding, tying, twisting, taping, sewing, gluing

TREATMENT: ripping, pulling, grinding, sanding, waxing, painting, heating, claying,

For me, there are important considerations that are being raised by Entanglement, including consumerism and colonialism. The issues are entwined and, I believe, at the core it is about taking, using and discarding products, people, and the natural resources we depend on for survival. We look to the past, and the present, and see people violently displaced from the land, their cultures, themselves, treated as disposable.  Presently we also see a reckless regard applied to the way modern for-profit globalized manufacturing promotes the use and abuse of plastics, and other material and chemical products, at the expense of the natural world and at the expense of human health, safety, and dignity.  We look to the future and can project that, without a change in consciousness, this system of using and abusing, taking and throwing away, will result in a world that is inhospitable for all. This work raises questions about respect and responsibility, as a culture, as people, as creators.  It raises questions about how we treat each other and the world we inhabit.  It raises questions about ownership, entitlement, and indulgence. I hope this work will provide the impetus to reflect on, and dialogue about, the kinds of changes in attitude and action that can fuel a conscientious evolution that embraces principles of reverence and accountability.

I DEEPLY APOLOGIZE for making these headdresses. It is an act of cultural appropriation. It is insensitive to the largely unspoken history of Canada, a country developed on the displacement and genocide of First Nations people, the effects of which continue today.

Summary of the
Final Report of the

There is no excuse for my ignorance.

I hope that I will learn how to trash less and mend more.

The Entanglement garments, conceived by Michael J.P. Hall and designed and constructed by Nita Bowerman, are an iteration of the Refuse Refuse garments (Second Life: Runner Up, Port Moody Wearable Art Awards 2013).

Articles about Entanglement:
Photographer Focuses on Plastic, by Cheryl Rossi (Vancouver Courier)
Work of Grad Featured at Science World (SFU Alumni News)
Entanglement at Science World by Hailey McCloskey (Vandocument)