Entangled and Ingested (Laist 1997)

Did you know that manufacturers can print the ‘chasing arrows’ symbol on their products knowing that most of them cannot and will never be recycled?

In many ways the ‘chasing arrows’ symbols are a marketing ploy that diverts responsibility to the consumer and away from the producer.

What we know is the 95% of plastic packaging is not recycled and that 90.5% of all plastic ever made has never been recycled.

The Entangled and Ingested project traces the ways film plastics inundate our lives, linking these creatures to our consumption and us to their survival.

The artist Kat Owens is creating life-sized portraits of all the species named in David Laist’s seminal work documenting animals harmed by entanglement and ingestion of marine debris. He finds 267 species with records of entanglement, ingestion or both. The 46 species featured in this project are those for which there were records– all the way back in 1997– of BOTH entanglement and ingestion.

Read the book chapter that inspires this project.

The sperm whale (above) –co-created with the public in the winter of 2021-2022– is 20 x 60 feet

The minke whale (below) -co-created with the public in the summer of 2021– is 7 x 18 feet

These portraits are created from hand sewing film plastic that is difficult or impossible to recycle onto canvas.

All small portraits are created by the artists while the larger pieces are being created collaboratively with the public.

The project began in February of 2021; this phase ends in 2022. Next, I’ll be creating a new series of portraits on the same theme. See Entanglement and Ingestion (Kuhn et al 2015) for more on that project.

Press about the project:

The CT Insider

Fox61 October 2022

Middletown Press

Middletown Patch

On Fox61 in December 2021

Hartford Courant

Meriden Record Journal


The Middletown CT Downtown Business District‘s Storefront Project

Minke Whale, 18 feet wide

The Entangled and Ingested Project has been supported by the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the Downtown Middletown Business District

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