We must look no further than the nasty, thousand-mile-wide strip of decomposing plastic in the northern Pacific Ocean to know that our world is becoming more polluted. Yet artist Alejandro Duran doesn’t let this reality deter his creative process; rather, this reality incites it.
Rounding up oceanic debris found along Mexican coast lines, Duran upcycles it into art that’s anything but wasteful. Site-specific and color-driven, these pieces compose Washed Up, a refreshing project that begins with trash and ends with a beautiful, thought-provoking installation.
Alejandro Duran collects plastic bottles, trash, old toothbrushes, lost caps and other discarded goodies from a coastline in Mexico’s Sian Ka’an reserve. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage site and the site of the world’s second largest coastal barrier reef, Sian Ka’an is the world’s trash can due to the way oceanic currents work.
These currents have dragged trash from more than 50 nations into the region–tucked between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea–making it quite easy for Duran to find everything he needs for Washed Up. (If only the region’s fish and wildlife were as lucky.)
For each Washed Up installation, Duran arranges the debris by color, trying to mimic nature in the process. In the image above, discarded balls sit below the palm tree, blending into the fruit that has already fallen. In another, trash fills a crevice in the rock the way rainwater might otherwise pool in the cracks.
Washed Up is just the sort of project Alejandro Duran likes to work on. The multimedia artist gravitates toward photography, installations and videos that examine how people and nature interact in our increasingly indworld. Duran was born in Mexico City, and now works out of Brooklyn, New York.