by StudioKCA (Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang)
5 tons of plastic pulled from the ocean to call attention to the 150 million tons still swimming out there.
A huge whale, made of five tons of plastic from the Pacific Ocean, jumps out of the Catharijnesingel in Utrecht, in front of TivoliVredenburg. The animal is a statement against the huge amount of plastic waste that pollutes rivers, seas and oceans around the world.
At the initiative of Utrecht University’s Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, the artwork has come to Utrecht for a period of six months. Marleen van Rijswick, professor of European and national water law and programme leader at the Utrecht Center for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, saw the whale in Bruges during the Trienale, an art and architecture festival. She was impressed and explored the possibilities to get him to Utrecht.
Research into sustainable ocean use
With the whale as an eye-catcher, Utrecht University would like to share knowledge about rivers, oceans, water and everything that this entails. "It fits very well with our research into the sustainable management of rivers and the sea," says Professor of European and national water law Marleen van Rijswick. Utrecht University conducts a lot of research into the causes and harmful effects of the plastic soup. She herself investigates how ecosystems can be protected by means of a source-oriented approach that prevents rivers from being polluted and oceans from becoming a plastic soup.
- Seline Trevisanut investigates how the law can contribute to a more sustainable use of oceans
- Alex Oude Elferink is on the Scientific Advisory Board of The Ocean Cleanup
- Oceanographer Erik van Sebille charts how plastic waste flows move through the ocean
- PhD candidate Svenja Mintenig investigates whether microplastics can pose a risk in our water.
- The faculty of Science is working on the development of plastic from biomaterials
- Researcher Lonneke IJsseldijk of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is conducting research into the causes of the strandings of cetaceans.
Various events and lectures are organised with regards to the presence of the whale. The entire project is financially and practically possible due to the help of partners, all of whom are equally enthusiastic about the charismatic appearance and message of the whale.
The creators of Skyscraper
The whale was made by the New York design agency STUDIOKCA and is officially called Skyscraper - The Bruges Whale. The city of Bruges was the client and wanted the whale as part of the Triennial Bruges art and architecture festival. The whale is eleven meters high and is made from five tons of plastic that was extracted from the Great and Atlantic Ocean. The designers financed the construction through crowdfunding. They collected blue and white plastic waste for four months on the shores of Hawaii, New York and Zeebrugge. “Pound for pound, there is more plastic waste from our cities swimming in the ocean than there are whales,” says STUDIOKCA. "A whale that jumps out of the water is the first ‘skyscraper’ at sea, and as the largest mammal in the water, it seemed appropriate to us to show the size and scale of the problem."