Swaantje’s generation

‘I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and it was the time when pretty much everybody was convinced that when it comes to the protection of the environment, we were all messing it up. What people would tell us as children was, us adults, we have messed it up, so now it’s on you’, I’m told by Swaantje Güntzel, an artist who engages with plastic and waste in her performances and in the images she creates. As a child, she was barely able to deal with the burden of this topic. She experienced depression and tried to be an activist, but always felt small, alone and powerless.

She wasn’t the only one. Continue reading “Swaantje’s generation”

Inheriting the Anthropocene

Artist Swaantje Güntzel clears a squaremeter of beach of microplastics in Lanzarote (Spain). During her intervention, she counted 1370 pieces. Image: Jan Philip Scheibe

Edited version of the article translated by Sebastian Smallshaw and published by Salzburg festival

Kamilo Beach is wild and beautiful. Shallow tide pools formed from black volcanic rock extend to the deep blue sea, while lush green vegetation hugs the white sandy beach at the southern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island. There are no tourists as far as the eye can see in this remote place.

Nonetheless, Kamilo has a worldwide reputation. The ‘plastic beach’ has become a symbol of the impact of human mass consumption. Continue reading “Inheriting the Anthropocene”