Alejandro Duran: CENTER’s Project Launch Juror’s Award
Congratulations to Alejandro Duran for his Project Launch Juror’s Award from CENTER, for his project Washed Up. Alejandro has created site-specific tableaux of plastics and trash that call attention to our fragile environment.
Juror Bernadette Tuazon, Senior Photo Editor, CNN Digital, selected Alejandro’s project for the Project Launch Award. “Tackling another global theme, my juror’s choice is Alejandro Duran’s work entitled Washed Up. The singular focus applied to this project is unparalleled: collecting thousands of plastic bottles, jugs, containers and other similar disposable items that he has identified from 50 nations found on Mexico’s Caribbean coast and creating installations that are ‘color-based and site-specific.’
The end result: eye-grabbing, colorful and whimsical but extremely effective in urging all of us to pay attention to this global catastrophe. My congratulations to Dümig and Duran for their success and my sincere admiration to CENTER for continuing to provide a platform that allows photographers around the world to showcase their photographic vision.”
Washed Up is an environmental installation and photography project that transforms the international garbage washing ashore on Mexico’s Caribbean coast into beautiful, yet ominous works.
The project addresses the issue of plastic pollution making its way across the ocean and onto the shores of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally- protected reserve. I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents all found along a single stretch of coastline. I collect this international debris and use it to create color-based, site-specific installations. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.
The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture. Although inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Smithson, Washed Up speaks to the environmental concerns of our time and its vast quantity of discarded materials. The alchemy of Washed Up lies not only in transforming a trashed landscape, but in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to consumption and waste.
The installations are photographed with a large format camera, using 4 x 5 color negative film. Exhibition prints are 40” x 52” archival pigment prints. A short documentary film accompanies the current exhibition.
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