Could small collective actions rid our waters from microplastics? And could religion be the tool to help us do so?

Plastic is a new kind of parasite. Microplastics that are made by humans return to us through carrier species that we consume. As these microplastics accumulate in our body, they become more harmful - mimicking the behaviour of a parasite. From infertility to cancer, we are starting to realise their full effects.

There is a direct correlation between the behaviour of parasites in certain areas of the world and the religions followed there. From cleansing ceremonies to specific food restrictions, religion has been used to spread health messages through storytelling and association to a higher power, while ultimately preventing parasite contraction.

Faith in the Fish focuses on the microplastic contamination of fish. A ritual act represented through a ceremonial tablecloth documents the protocol of cleansing a single fish to eat. The resulting collected plastic becomes a symbol of devotion for the participants.
The centerpiece of this project was the ceremonial tapestry, a 2m x 1.5m illustration that guides the participant through the process of cleansing a single fish from microplastic.


























Reference

We developed the brief for this project together, after we agreed that you wanted to explore parasites. You beautifully subverted the concept to identify a material that isn’t conventionally thought of as a parasite, but which we increasingly understand as infiltrating our environment, food, and bodies. The outcome is evidence of your research skills and imagination, realised through extremely elegant storytelling. Your tenacity to realise the tablecloth/altarpiece as an embroidered piece is further proof of your ability to realise the seemingly impossible! It shows off your immense drawing skills, synthesising a hugely complex narrative through entirely visual means with so much rich detail for the viewer to enjoy. The vessels are less fully realised: there is an opportunity here to develop them further to test your 3D design skills that are evident in your milk project. I’d love to see you bring them to a similar level of sophistication and enjoy thinking about their particular function and appearance and materiality. The experimental film was a great way to find a language for this religion and its rituals through movement; again, there’s opportunity here to develop this and investigate their clothing and location further. I’m keen to hear how you will design the sound to take us deeper into this alternative world. How would you recreate the ritual for future exhibition, alongside the wonderful altarpiece display stand? The “bible” is a very interesting addition – do you see this as a handbook for religious participants or documentation? Overall, the project is a great success, especially in the narrative, technical and production skills you have learnt along the way.













I am so impressed with your progress over the 18 months – it has been an absolute joy to meet you, work with you, mentor you, and learn from you as you have grown through this extraordinary task you set yourself. I know the mountains you have faced from defining the course, the solo learning, financing yourself and the work, to learning how to make things happen and gaining the confidence to do that. I am more convinced than ever that you can persuade anyone to do anything for a great cause and energise them along the way. I know that you feel more comfortable with drawing and the 2D, so I am delighted to see how you took up the challenge to work in 3D for some of the projects and learn so many new skills – I hope to see more of your 3D work in the future.


My concern: how will we manage the number of MYOM students who are going to be galvanised by what you have achieved and have the guts to follow your lead?!


I’m so proud of what you have accomplished. You are an inspiration. Congratulations Stacie Woolsey, MA.
-Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg