Death by Plastic (Moab) 2019

My ongoing environmental concerns led me to research the lifecycle of plastic in hopes of addressing the attendant issues of this product which is both incredibly useful and undeniably one of the leading causes of pollution on the planet. The result of this research is a series titled “Death by Plastic.” The piece aims to draw attention to issues of refuse and recycling by highlighting the plastic products regionally that are no longer profitable or possible to recycle.

For two decades, I have used Southern Utah as a base for my projects in the West. My work in the Moab area specifically has made me acutely aware of the infrastructure for waste management in a small community that is seasonal infiltrated by tourism. It is my connection to this place and my admiration for the communities’ recycling efforts that inspired the initial phase of the project in which I constructed a casket out of Plexiglas to bury myself under plastics that cannot currently be recycled in the area.

Death by Plastic (Venice) 2019

On November 7, 2019, my body rested in a casket made of transparent Plexiglas filled with fishing nets and single use plastics. A gondola carried the casket, silently across the canals of Venice, drawing attention to major causes of plastic pollution locally and globally. Thousands of tourists invade the city daily, leaving behind tons of waste, much of which is single-use plastic bottles. Part of the problem is that as consumers we have become incredibly lazy. The larger issue, however, is that corporations keep producing and wrapping products in plastics which are often not recyclable. The responsibility to solve this dilemma lies not only on the consumers but expressly on the corporations producing these products. To solve this problem, we need to make a significant paradigm shift and be willing to change our habits – as consumers, as product and packaging designers, and as corporations.

Death by Plastic (Venice) 2019

This video documents the work Death by Plastic (Venice).

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by COCA.

Anne-Katrin Spiess


My work can best be defined as Conceptual Land Art.

I am interested in spaces, both physical and psychological and how the two relate to one another. I create site-specific projects in wide-open and extremely remote landscapes, where severance from civilization creates distance from the “real” world. My projects exist only for a few hours or days at a time, before they are disassembled, returning the landscape to its original condition. I document the works through photography, video and text.

Because of my close connection to nature and the responsibility I feel towards the planet, several of my installations address environmental concerns. As a result, I have begun to pay more and more attention to the materials I use, often employing the elements around me or my own body as source material. I collect or borrow from nature occasionally introducing man- or machine-made materials as reminders of human civilization.

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