Subversive Plasticity

Subversive plasticity presents plastics from our everyday world in a new light. With exhibits exploring the interplay between materials and the forms they take in plastic objects, it challenges people to build their own ‘plastics literacy.’

In a world where, more and more, the things we encounter are made of plastic ‘stuff’, we need to understand how to recognize, re-use, and redirect our relations with plastics. There is no ‘away’ where we can safely throw this stuff. It accumulates in our rivers, in the depths of the oceans, in wildlife and, potentially, in us.

Much of the world is ahead of us on this learning curve, already figuring out how to re-purpose waste plastics that simply don’t disappear. Whether it’s ocean-borne flipflops in Kenya or toothbrush handles reworked into beads in the Philippines, creative approaches show the potentials, problems and limits of plastics.

Subversive plasticity features artworks inspired by and made from plastic waste. These works include commissioned pieces from Stoke-on-Trent artists working with the arts charity, B-arts, made in collaboration with community groups. The exhibition also displays findings from research carried out by Keele University staff and students and contributions from Visiting Fellow Dr Elyse Stanes and Keele student volunteers, with graphics by KUDIS.

Subversive plasticity features original artworks by Staffordshire artists Rachel Ballard, Richard Redwin, Helena Shave and Alou.

The exhibition, at Keele University Art Gallery, was officially opened on the 11 February by Professor Chris Fogwill, Director of Keele Institute for Sustainable Futures and was up till the 30 March 2019.