Turtle in Edinburgh

In order to raise awareness of the permanent damages of filling waste into the ocean, the project sought to create a series of speculative artefacts(speculative design is a theory proposed by Dunne and Raby, who used design to stress contemporary issues around the world.) The pieces for this project contain wastes from different locations and shares an abstract form of a deformed turtle whose body and shell changed their shapes due to stuck by a plastic ring for 6-pack cans in the ocean.  The project was designed to bring viewers the emotional shock through linking waste created and the unfortunate story of the turtle. From the secondary research, comparing to the works from studio swine, who designed a sculpture in a normal turtle shell shape used the plastic waste collected from the ocean , differently, I designed the shells in a abstract form to leave them open to the viewers who may remember the story of the turtle when they met some similar shapes. Because my project aims to push the image of the turtle into the viewers’ life, and I found the abstraction of the shell looks like a lot of things people appreciate in their daily life, for example, timepieces. Meanwhile, inspired by Ice sculpture from Andrew McGibbon, whose work used ice to join things in a form, similarly, through mixing the non-recyclable materials collected locally, each piece(the turtle-shell artefacts) from the series is indicating waste from a specific location in Edinburgh, because my project aims to build direct links between waste from a specific place to the end story of the turtles. The purpose is to encourage people in different areas generating less waste locally and individually. 

In this project, the sources of materials and applications of materials lead the design process. There are 3 final models indicating ECA studios, student residences, and Edinburgh Remakery, they were made out of recycled plastics and resin, through the application of 3d printing, vacuum forming and casting. The collection of waste mainly conducted through donation and found waste. Signs are posted to collect unwanted waste from residences and ECA studios. Meanwhile, I habituated to seek for interesting waste that could represent different places and people. The collection lasts 2 weeks, and the material is collected such as brims from 3d printing, blue form waste, MDF waste, plastic bags and many plastic bottles. Other than that, under the collaboration with Edinburgh Remarkery, unwanted electrical parts from broken computers and other devices are collected. 

The idea of using recycled plastics leads to explore many materials or processes generally including fusing or joining recycled plastics together. For instance, the products from Ecobirdy are made through grounding and fusing recycled plastics, which was aiming to create a new product with new characters. However, to illustrate the context clearly, joining collected waste is a better method in this project because melting and fusing plastics as processes complex the shapes of the waste, potentially mislead the message behind it. With the help of a casting specialist—Jessamy Kelly, who suggested using resin to be the medium. Surprisingly, the test outcome has the effect of floating waste over the water due to the special transparent quality of resin and different densities of the contents within the mold. In order to reproduce the abstract image of the turtle shell, the final shape is realised through CAD and 3d printing techniques. Then using vacuum form to produce reusable molds for resin. Finally, mixing resin with the selection of collected waste and hand-finished models after they came out molds.