Skyscraper (The Bruges Whale) Draws Attention to the Oceans’ Pollution

For more than a century, the brass statue of renowned Flemish painter Jan van Eyck has been the sole overseer of Jan van Eyck square in Bruges, Belgium. As bizarre as it sounds, since this past May van Eyck has been sharing the limelight with a back-flipping four-storey tall whale jumping out of the adjacent canal. Even more extraordinary is the fact that the monumental installation is made out of five tons of plastic waste pulled out of the Pacific Ocean. Designed by New York-based architecture and design firm StudioKCA for the 2018 Bruges Triennial (May 5th – September 16th, 2018), “Skyscraper (The Bruges Whale)” draws attention to the plight of ocean pollution in the most astute, visceral and spectacular way possible. When the organizers of Bruges Triennial approached Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of StudioKCA with this year’s theme, “Liquid City”—a exploration of a rapidly changing world where the identity of modern cities is in flux as they grow ever more connected through globalization—the Pacific Ocean was probably the furthest thing on their minds. And yet, urban life is intimately connected to the planet’s oceans as attested by the massive amounts of plastic waste that cities produce, 8 million tons of which end up annually in the oceans, “the biggest liquid city on the planet”, to the detriment of marine life. It is estimated that 150 million tons of plastic debris currently float in the ocean, which means that there is more plastic swimming in the ocean than there are whales. What better way then to convey the sheer size of the problem than by erecting a gigantic whale made from plastic waste that was pulled out of the Pacific Ocean?

Courtesy of Yatzer