Citizen art&science activities in different Nordic countries by researchers from Malmö University

Plastiglomerate walk Önundarfjörður

Dates: 8 Aug 2015
Place: Önundarfjörður, Iceland

The third plastiglomerate walk takes place in Önundarfjörður in the Westfjords in Iceland. During this exploratory walk we look for plastiglomerates that is a new kind of rock that consists of plastics, lava, corrals and more. Regardless whether any plastiglomerates are found, the walks allow for plenty of time to discuss and speculate on the matters that emerge when human and natural forces merge. What brings them into being? How can we understand them? Who and what are they a concern to? How could they be used?  

Who: You who are normally working and dwelling in the area, as well as you who are coming from afar - for example students, artists, tourists, researchers, politicians, civil servants, environmentalists, or anyone who is curious about plastiglomerates as a hybrid matter.

Meeting place: Gathering at 10 am the crossroad towards the church in Holt. The walk will start near the boathouse in Önundarfjörður in the Westfjords. 

Collaborator: ArtsIceland

At 10 AM, just before the high tide we met on the other side of Önundarfjörður , where the beach is unusually white. We walked slowly and spread out along the beach.

Surprised that we did not find much plastic or other kind of debris some participants started to make their own kind of hybrid matters. One participant stuck a piece of gum to a seaweed.  Another participant pressed small stones into a foam-like material. Yet another hesitated to pick up the plastics that had become stuck underneath a stone in a small waterfall where plants and moss had started to grow on top of and around the plastics. It seemed wrong to pull that piece of plastic out when it had become so entangled in the environment.

Again we did not manage to cover as much of the beach as we had planned and ended the walk with a chat in the grass. One participant expressed that finding plastic gave him a sense of safety, as if it was a sign of other humans. Living in a rather remote fjord in Iceland can at times be lonely. To create a sense of presence he and the other inhabitants in the fjord would leave their exterior light on.

In the middle of our chat we heard a sharp sound. As we looked up towards the mountain we could see a stone falling down creating dust as it hit the ground. It felt as if it was coming towards us, but other stones that had fallen down before blocked it.

Just before saying goodbye one participant suggested that we should have a fire the day after, to see if we could make a plastiglomerate ourselves.

Citizen art&science activities in different Nordic countries by researchers from Malmö University