Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals encapsulates in miniature the much larger environmental problems of an imperfect world. This work highlights a major subject of environmental concern with a unique collection of plankton ‘specimen’ photographs – revealed to be beautifully photographed objects of plastic debris recovered off the southern shores of Ireland. Antique design reflects on a time before plastic, while exposing the urgent issue of severe pollution our natural environment.
Each Artist Edition box of Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals is truly one of a kind! (See more images by clicking the image above)
+ The bespoke, handmade box (24x21x4.5cm) is wrapped in black linen buckram with Beyond Drifting foiled in satin gold on the rounded edge (foil not currently shown). Signed edition of 40 (labeled inside).
+ The Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals hardcover book is 104 pages, 23×17.5cm with 59 colour photographs and illustrated throughout with texts and drawings by John Vaughan Thompson from his 1830 book Zoological Researches, and Illustrations Or Natural History of Nondescript Or Imperfectly Known Animals, in a Series of Memoirs – an inspiration behind Mandy’s series. Hand-finished and signed copy.
The following elements are handcrafted, and personally finished by Mandy Barker:
+ The artist’s Research Notes (23×17.5cm) presents 50 pages reproduced from Mandy’s original sketch book from the making of Beyond Drifting. She started the sketch book while on a residency at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, Cork in Ireland and maintained during her conceptual development of the trade edition book. Providing a complete picture of Mandy’s experience of retrieving plastic objects in the Cove of Cork, it also documents her thinking process behind the creation of the series. The book is wire bound with black GF Smith ‘Wild’ paper covers, debossed on the front and featuring tip-ins by the artist. Signed on a label in the back, Research Notes is numbered in an edition of 50.
+ The Microscopic Specimen Slide is uniquely handmade with microplastic particles retrieved by the artist, labeled from the Cove of Cork, mounted in card and presented in a glassine sleeve. Signed and numbered in an edition of 40.
+ CHOOSE FROM ONE OF TWO PRINT SET OPTIONS. Two sets of two limited edition giclée prints (15x21cm) are made by the artist, wrapped in glassine and presented in a red GF Smith ‘Colorplan’ paper envelope, signed and numbered in editions of 20.
– Print Set Option 1 (each is 1/20) *4 remaining from £295
A specimen photograph of Prolcessa Edustilcui (This image does not appear in the Beyond Drifting book)
A diptych of the specimen photograph of Nebulae Plaurosbrathic, paired with the original recovered plastic object Plastic Flower, Partially Burnt
– Print Set Option 2 (each is 1/20) *4 remaining at £195, before price increase
A specimen photograph of Ophelia Medustica
A diptych of the specimen photograph Plividas Chloticus, paired with the original recovered plastic object Barbie Doll Arm
NOTE: The final five Artist Editions (of each print set) increase in price starting at £250
For packaging and postage add £25
For further details about this project, see descriptions on the trade edition book page: Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals
Reviews + Press
“Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals is an astounding piece of work, one in which Barker takes the most humdrum of things – plastic detrius – inserts it into an intriguing, multilayered historical narrative, lends its physical form a gossamer, airy beauty, and presents the whole to us in the form of a book. Not just any book, but a replica of an old science publication from the 1800s, including mould-spotted pages, a library lending form and specimen labels.” – Lucy Davies, V&A Magazine Spring 2017
Now, 170 years after Atkins, another British woman has produced an important photobook that echoes Victorian-era science even as it exposes a contemporary environmental crisis. Mandy Barker’s Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals similarly occupies that liminal space where art and science converge, and its impeccable presentation exemplifies how book design can extend content. – Laura M. André, review on Photo-eye
“Her images could be mistaken for Victorian glass-plate photographs; in fact they are ornate, long-exposure studies of the plastic debris that pollutes beaches in and around Cobh in Cork Harbour, Ireland.” – Tom Seymour, BJP
“Beyond Drifting is a clever critique of a massive environmental problem – and, in focusing in on one small area of Ireland in particular, Barker highlights a global issue.” – Mark Sinclair, Creative Review
“Mandy Barker’s work on plastic has been developing for some time. In its latest advance, she looks at micro-particles of plastic as a species of a lunatic plankton, floating about the sea, and she has included a rather wonderful pastiche book of old-fashioned science as a way of getting us into her subject.” – Francis Hodgson, review from Unseen
See more press for Beyond Drifting
Photo-eye review by Laura M. André
Review in V&A Magazine (by Lucy Davies), Spring 2017
Audio interview with The Documentary Photographer Podcast by Roger Overall, Episode 27
Feature in Smithsonian, “These Haunting Photographs Call Attention to Plastic Trash Swirling in the Ocean”
Feature in The Guardian, “Red alert: Kofi Annan on the photos that capture our choking planet”
Feature in Creative Review, “Unnatural History: The New Creatures in our Oceans”
Feature Interview with Photoworks
Feature in The Telegraph Magazine, 29 April 2017
Preview in BJP, “On show: Prix Pictet ‘Space’ at the V&A”
Feature in New Scientist, “Animal or Mineral?”, 22 April 2017 (Issue #3122)
Feature in RPS Journal, April 2017
Feature on Live Science, “Mysterious ‘Plastic Plankton’ Art Exhibit Reveals Extent of Ocean Pollution”
Feature on Wired.com, “Is that plankton? Nope, it’s trash”
Features in DMU News: “This beach is 12ft deep in rubbish”; “Photography graduate’s powerful images published in first book”
Feature in Marie Claire Italy, “Il futuro e ibridazione”, March 2017 issue
Feature in British Journal of Photography, ‘Cool + Noteworthy’, Jan 2017 issue (Showcasing the book dummy)
Feature on LensCulture
Interview with Parley, “A Beautiful Mess”
This body of work was shortlisted for the 2017 Prix Pictet (SPACE), the global award in photography and sustainability
Exhibitions in 2017:
8-17 September at Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden
6-28 May 2017 at the V&A in London
28 May – 2 July at Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Cork, Ireland
Through June at Nature Museum Fryslân – Noorderlicht Plastic: Fossil to Fossil
24 March – 23 April at FORMAT Photography Festival HABITAT