Plastic Growth – Photo Manipulation | Concept Project

Background: For my advanced Creative Programming course, I challenged myself to explore photo manipulation, more specifically glitch art, through code. Inspired by my senior capstone project and Kim Asendorf’s pixel sorting, I chose the subject of plastic pollution and to contrast it against nature through glitch art. To set the foundation of the project, I chose to approach it as a concept project in which I was commissioned by CNN to create images for an article on plastic pollution and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Process: I began by collecting public domain images of plastic pollution in which there is a lot of plastic in the foreground and nature, mostly out of view, in the background. Then, in Photoshop, I created cutout image layers that I used in Processing. In Processing, I manipulated the pixel shape and transparency, experimenting with different variations. I repeated this process, layering previous glitches and image cutouts on top of new ones and then randomizing the glitches.

Result: The project pushed my creative and coding skills as it required a lot of experimentation in order to narrow down the best method for representing plastic pollution in this sense. In addition, it required much consideration into the significance of glitch art in this context. I chose glitch art as it creates something new through destruction, similarly to how nature is adapting into something new and different through its destruction by plastic. Overall, the result reflects the text of the article while exaggerating the effects of plastic pollution and its growth as it overtakes nature.

Main image of ghost net with article title.
Main image of ghost net with article title.
Second image of glitched plastic samples with some article text.
Second image of glitched plastic samples with some article text.
Third image of glitched plastic fishing gear with some article text.
Third image of glitched plastic fishing gear with some article text.
Responsive designs of the article.
Responsive designs of the article.