Emily Chudnovsky: Tangle
A Public Floating Installation
Emily Chudnovsky: Tangle
July, 2023 through September, 2023
Peter Street Basin Park
370 Queens Quay W, Toronto
In the summer of 2022, the University of Toronto Trash Team artist-in-residence, Emily Chudnovsky, gathered invasive macrophytes and micro- and macroplastics collected from Seabins deployed in Lake Ontario by PortsToronto and manual skimming supported by the Waterfront BIA. Each summer, student researchers with the University of Toronto Trash Team empty trash traps and skim the water’s surface along the harbourfront (including within the Peter Street Basin) to collect data that is used to increase waste literacy locally, and inform solutions to prevent plastic pollution.
To increase awareness, Chudnovsky saved the collected materials and used these small fragments and plants to build a floating installation, Tangle, which conveys the quiet yet critical role of plants in accumulating plastic from our waterways. The plants behave similarly to filters; the small plastic fragments cling to their strands as they float at the top of the water, facilitating their removal from the lake. The organic matter, the macrophytes, willow and pine resin, are the backbone of the piece, the framework to view the synthetic material. Much of the synthetic materials used in the artwork come from industrial waste: sawdust from the lumber industry, discarded polypropylene bags from the textile industry, and microplastic pellets from plastic manufacturers which fall out in transport and can end up in LittaTraps (a trash trap installed in storm drains) and Seabins (a floating trash trap).
Tangle conveys how we are all inextricably linked. Plants, people, plastic.
About the Artist
Emily Chudnovsky holds a Master of Fine art from the Glasgow School of Art and an Undergraduate combined Honours degree from the University of Kings College in Contemporary Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Her site-specific research has taken place in Scotland, California, Yukon and Ontario. Her artistic practice consists of collecting organic remnants and synthetic decay to draw out new iterations, connections and regenerations through sculpture-based installations. Her carefully considered use of discarded materials in her immediate environment calls into question our human-made demarcations of nature and waste. She is currently living and making work in Toronto, Canada.
The University of Toronto Trash Team
25 Willcocks St
Toronto, ON M5S 3B2
Peter Street Basin Park is partially accessible from Queens Quay West with full views from street level and stair access to lower levels of the basin.