Why throw plastics into the ocean?

I can’t speak for others but in our case, we decided to throw an entire truckload of plastic into the ocean after we learned about this shocking statistic:

Every 60 seconds, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the ocean. “

Although we were able to remove the plastics that we put in, the same can’t be said for what is currently happening every second, of every day, for the rest of our lives, and those of our children.

Our hope with this project was to highlight the real problem: That unless we stopped plastic at the source, cleanups and recycling alone would never be enough.

Our battle plan was pretty straightforward:

  • Connect with a large organization like Greenpeace that had the clout to fight big corporations
  • Do something slightly insane that could stand out from all the noise on social media
  • Rally complete strangers online using extravagant art and rapid storytelling
  • Ask for one minute of their time to make change happen

See how we did it (or watch on youtube):

Sign the Petition

PS. We’re giving away a couple signed prints!


Katerina was the first piece of the puzzle. 

With her ability to suspend herself from anything in the world, we wanted to create art that could show how little individual efforts mattered unless we could stop plastic at the source.

The next step – was to collect as much plastic as possible.

Greenpeace Greece and local grass-root organizations like Garbage Art Corfu helped us transform our concept from idea to reality by connecting our mission to local schools and individuals. Ultimately we collected over ten thousand pieces of plastic!

We spent the next few days tying the plastics together with old fishing line that was scavenged from the dumps of the Gouvia Marina.

Marjan, a local sailor, introduced us to the owner of the Marina when she heard our call for help. They graciously offered us space, shade, and food while we worked to meticulously tie the individual pieces of plastic together so that they wouldn’t escape.

We tested our setup at the Marina, where Katerina and her rigger Spiros Badios hung off a massive boat crane.

The dock at the Marina was our playground and Dimitri, the manager of the Marina, graciously offered us access to their boat crane. With their help, we were able to float the plastics around to see how they would behave in the water, without too much fear of them escaping.

There, we discovered first hand how hard it was to keep the plastics from floating all over the place.

Even within the sheltered confines of the Marina, the plastics would constantly try their best to float away. It was a constant struggle to move them in and out of position and a preview of how tough it would be for us to replicate this project in nature.

We had to find a way to transport the plastics across the island without getting them tangled.

One of the biggest concerns we had was figuring out how to transport the plastics to the most remote pristine locations on the island. Thankfully, volunteers like Stamatis Chalkias, Theodore Bourkas, Marjan Hoogendoorn and Peter Kraan graciously offered their trucks and boats to us to be loaded up with plastics!

And carefully place them around the most dramatic caves we could find for Katerina to hang from

For this shot, we had to carefully carry thousands of bottles down a steep pathway before un-tangling them and laying them out to illustrate plastics flowing from land into sea.

To illustrate how plastics inevitably flow from land into the sea, despite our best efforts to stop them.

Currently, up to 12 Million metric tons of plastic flow into the oceans every year, and that number is set to increase. 

To keep the plastics from escaping, we had to tie them down to larger bottles that we filled with rocks that acted as anchors.

Despite the weights, every time a large ship would pass by, our entire landscape would change. Volunteers with sticks had to be placed strategically to act as human anchors to keep everything from flowing away.

For this project, we were able to retrieve all the plastics we tossed out…

Although these images look beautiful and peaceful, the reality was that every step of the process was a battle to control the plastics from escaping.

But in the real world, it’s becoming impossible to keep up with. 

Very few corporations have decided to tackle the problem head-on, and while grassroots efforts are making a difference – it still isn’t enough.

Please join us in asking companies to stop producing so much plastic.

What we can do as leaders in the space, is to make sure that big companies act more responsibly and stop putting so much plastic out there in the first place.

Media Requests

  • Feel free to quote and publish the photos in your online publication (please credit & link back to the original). Video string-outs are available upon request.
  • High-rez press images, BTS and more can be found in this dropbox link. Specific Terms of Use can be found here.
  • Commercial requests and rights: suzy@suzyjohnston.com
  • Interview requests: ben@vonwong.com, jfela@greenpeace.org or soldatou@gmail.com

Credits

  • Creative Direction: Von Wong & Katerina Soldatou
  • Produced in collaboration with Greenpeace
  • Cinematography: Valentina Vee
  • Rigging: Spiros Badios
  • Additional Footage: Christophe Anagnostopoulous, Aleksandar Arbajter, John Dela Torre, Happy Clickzz , Max Mwy溫子揚 
  • BTS Photos: Anna Tenne, Spiro Korifo Sueref
  • Sound Engineer: Andrew Kesler
  • Color Grading: Adam Frimer
  • Volunteers: Eleni Ioannidou, Foteini Zaglara, Aleksandar Arbajter, Antony Andriotis, George kamelakis, Marjan Hoogendoorn, Constantina Berdoussi, George Koroxenidis, Efi Kampioti, Willy Zwaard, Chryssalis Eddie, Giannis Loizou, Christophe Anagnostopoulos, Minas Xax, Katia Angelopoulou, Theodoros Boukas, Simon Allaway, Katerina Alepa, Vaios Vitos, Anastasia Loukrezi, Ian Smith, Lesley Cummings, Xenia Tombrou, Nina Loss, Marilena Agathou, Iakovos Ioannidis, Eleana Dimopoulou, Spiro Korifu Sueref, Sophia Michalopoulou, Daphne Desy, Dimitri @ Marina Gouvia, Angel Young, Simon Allaway, Genovefa Theodora Cheimariou, Yannis Filippas, Marilena Agathou

Special thanks to:

  • Dimitri at the Gouvia Marina for providing us with a space and lunch for the entire week for all the volunteers.
  • Xenia Tombrou with Garbage Art Corfu for finding the schools to provide us with all the plastics
  • Sophia Michalopoulou from Mermaids Corfu for helping us find used fishing nets
  • Marjan Hoogendoorn & Peter Kraan with Ionian Sailing Adventures for helping us find all the sailing boats Free Life and Annabel
  • Theodoros Boukas with Darinka Sailing for finding us a Spinnaker and letting us use his boat in one of the photos
  • Willy Zwaard for opening up her house for volunteers to crash in
  • Spiros Lavranos for making sure all the bottles were recycled after our project
  • Stamatis Chalkias & son for giving us a truck to transport all our plastic bottles
  • The Takis Taverna Family for hosting our entire group every night for dinner
  • Jen Fela and Alkis Kafetzis at Greenpeace for believing in the project and helping us push it through
  • You, the viewers, for joining us on this campaign to end plastics.
  • Want to join a future project? Make sure to join my Telegram broadcasts: t.me/thevonwong

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