From take-out containers to water bottles to hazmat suits, the practically ubiquitous material of plastic seals objects and bodies from their surrounding environment. But it does not do so benignly; it is one of the foremost causes of pollution in the oceans amongst other environmental problems. As an agent of containment and contamination, plastic is bound to new ecological realities, creating new aesthetic surfaces as it coats the earth. This paper will reconsider the world of plastic containers, asking how this material contains life.
Heather Davis is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of numerous articles and the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environment and Epistemology (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming 2015) and Desire/Change: Contemporary Canadian Feminist Art (McGill-Queen's Press, forthcoming 2016).