Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Student Creative: Adrian Finn

This year we have three Student Creatives working with MoDiP. Last but not least we will ask Adrian Finn to introduce himself and his project:

I am a third year Architecture student at AUB, and have been given the opportunity to promote the Museum of Design in Plastics. My project with MoDiP seeks to explore and revive the connection between plastic products and their source – the fossil.

As a student of Architecture I like to produce work that is more conceptual – something that gives the viewer a narrative or idea, and hopefully evokes emotion or thought. I also enjoy capturing these ideas through the aesthetics of my work – this varies from model-making, architectural plans, and photography. Below are examples of my previous works: 

Scale Model of an Orwellian Future for Poole (Future Scenarios project)

Utrecht University Library, interior
Side Elevation of a proposal for a music school extension to Poole Lighthouse

As I have already worked in a conceptual way within the subject of Architecture, I would like to explore a different subject – plastics, and how we think of them.

For myself, after initially visiting MoDiP, the sheer diversity in what we define as plastic products is astonishing – be it drain pipes and gutters, snooker balls, baby toys, and so on. The difference between the snooker ball and the squeezable toy is amazing! 

Pipe fittings BXL: 0383
Aramith snooker balls AIBDC : 005759
Octopals bath toy AIBDC : 004865

When one looks at masonry stone used to build, the original stone found in the quarry, and the final heavy block, is fairly similar in appearance. When one looks at the timber structure of a building, the timber used originally may be defined in a number of ways – be it colour, weight, growth rings, and so on. Try this logic with the nearest plastic object to you – how do you imagine the plastic being sourced? Does the material give any clues? The colour? The texture?

Plastics can be manipulated to change their form, materiality, texture, and properties in many ways. Unlike timber and stone, plastics can be separated from their source material almost entirely. Considering the stereotypical bright and clean colours that we associate with plastics and plastic products, they can seem so 'synthetic', or 'unnatural', when this simply isn't true!

Plastic is formed from crude oil, a fossil fuel. Crude oil is formed over millions of years. It starts when plankton in the sea dies, falls to the bottom of the sea bed, and becomes crushed by sediment falling on top of it. Over millions of years the remains of the plankton changes into crude oil, which through fractional distillation can be separated into all kinds of oils – including the oil used to make plastic products.

The fact that plastics start their life within fossilised remains is something that I feel is lost today. We are constantly reminded to reuse and recycle our plastics – but without an understanding of the original source of the material, is it harder for the public to be compassionate about recycling? Is there an alternative to the ‘guilt trip’ method of raising awareness for recycling (think of footage of massive mounds of dumped plastic with floods of seagulls harassing a dumpster truck)?
My project with MoDiP seeks to explore and revive the connection between plastic products and their source – the fossil. I would like to produce a piece of work that juxtaposes the ‘synthetic’ portrayal of plastics today against the aesthetics and properties of fossils. This should spark an idea of how we view plastics – giving them more context in our existence on Earth, and how we harness them to create our world.

Adrian Finn
Student Creative

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