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Embracing Enough: Video Tour of Plastic Heart

Daniella Sanader | November 11, 2021

This is part of the Art Museum’s ongoing series of Virtual Spotlights centred on the exhibition Plastic Heart: Surface All The Way Through, organized by Synthetic Collective and produced by the Art useum where it is on view until November 20, 2021. Click here for details on how to visit the exhibition.

Can a closer look at plastics—from the material’s aesthetic allure to its persistent waste—help us better understand the complexities of plastics pollution, both from within a museum context and beyond it? And how do you begin to tally the environmental impact of an exhibition? Guided by these questions, the Synthetic Collective introduced a number of creative adaptations throughout Plastic Heart: Surface All The Way Through, working to reduce the ecological footprint of their project: from didactics and display, to shipping and technology. But in developing a sustainable exhibition, what is enough?   

Watch the video above for an introductory look at Plastic Heart, featuring Collective members Tegan Moore and Kelly Wood—and the Art Museum’s Barbara Fischer—describing some of the adaptations developed for the exhibition, and reflecting on what the Collective refers to as “an approach of enough.”

“The Synthetic Collective espouses an approach of enough: ecological footprints must be taken into account when weighing aesthetic decisions. An aesthetic of enough is one that simultaneously acknowledges and values the past, present, and future—enough already!—in its refusal of high carbon, high energy, high waste productions. An approach of enough requires humility, and practicality: sustainability, in terms of resources and human energy, is directly linked to systems that can break if we overspend them. It means we should put in a lot of effort to build more equitable worlds, but that should be accompanied with an ethic of care, mindful that we don’t burn out and the planet doesn’t burn up. Enough is an aesthetic based in achieving maximum impact with the minimum of resources. Enough is a counterpoint to the implied goal of museum-standard perfection and a culture that valorizes work above all else.”

—Synthetic Collective, quoted in “Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide for Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions”


Images: Plastic Heart: Surface All The Way Through, installation view at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Documentation: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Cinematography, editing, and production by Vuk Dragojevic.

Virtual Spotlight developed by Daniella Sanader, Content Curator, Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through.