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Douglas Coupland Makes Waves at the Vancouver Aquarium

BY CHLOË LAI 

Douglas Coupland’s “Vortex” is on display at the Vancouver Aquarium until spring 2019 (Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

To spring 2019 Decades ago, when Vancouver-based artist Douglas Coupland first started working with plastic, the material seemed “eternal, shiny and happy.” That changed when Coupland discovered plastic bottles from Tokyo washed up on the remote beaches of Haida Gwaii. His newest exhibit, Vortex, uses plastic marine debris collected along BC’s coast to reimagine the Pacific Trash Vortex—also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—in a series of playful, thought-provoking installations. The centrepiece, a small Japanese fishing boat set adrift in the 2011 tsunami, is now home to four figures, including a tweed-jacketed Andy Warhol. In a tank nearby, tiny fish dart through a multi-coloured LEGO “reef.” Across the room, blue blubber jellyfish and yellow-capped plastic bottles bob and drift in perfect harmony. Long shelves showcase assorted flotsam and jetsam, such as a plastic Snapple bottle cap emblazoned with the company’s slogan: “Made From the Best Stuff on Earth.” Intrigued? Dive into this thought-provoking exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium.

 

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