Five tons of plastic waste - ranging from CDs to fans - have been extracted from the ocean and transformed into a giant sculpture of a whale breaching the Bruges canal, which represents the shocking excess of waste in the world’s oceans.
Designed by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of the Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary practice StudioKCA, the Bruges Whale is a massive environmental artwork that was created for the 2018 Bruges Triennial, with the theme of “Liquid City”. Also called the Skyscraper, the Bruges Whale was positioned to appear in mid-breach in a canal opposite the city’s iconic Jan Van Eyck statue.
Installed in the UNESCO World Heritage City Centre of Bruges, Belgium, the Bruges Whale was created to draw attention to the unrelenting flow of plastic waste into our oceans, with an estimated eight million tons added every year. Teaming up with Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Surfrider Foundation, StudioKCA collected more than five tons of plastic waste from the ocean in four months. After cleaning and sorting the trash, the team also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the project to life and to fund fabrication of the steel and aluminium structural system created in collaboration with Thornton Tomasetti.
“Skyscraper is a physical example of why we need to change how we use and dispose of plastic in the world today,” said Chang.
“[The sculpture] is five tons of plastic waste that we’ve pulled out of the ocean to create a four-storey tall whale to help raise awareness about the other 150 million tons of plastic waste still swimming in our oceans,” added Klimoski. The more people know about a problem, the better, as it takes all of us working together to change the way things are done. This is a real opportunity to help bring awareness to a large audience about this global issue.”
Located in the historic Jan Van Eyck Square, the Bruges Whale is one of 14 other installations selected for the 2018 Bruges Triennial, a free event that’s expected to welcome more than two million people. This art and architecture event is being held from May 5 to September 16, 2018.