Microcosms, Cairns, Crabs, Taxonomies, and Ruins  

2017 - current

Polystyrene, mixed media

currently developing body of work produced from detritus found on New York City shorelines


image of the artist - 2017

I began finding Styrofoam washed ashore along the East River in the shape of stones in September 2017.

ruins - 2017 - ongoing

In October 2017 I collected over a hundred from Red Hook Brooklyn’s Valentino Pier Park alone.

Microcosm Beta - 2017 - 0ngoing

To play with the weight of the smaller "stones” I embedded tiny bristle bots into carved recesses in the bellies of each. With the success of these first five, the installation quickly grew to a horde of five hundred.

Microcosm Beta - 2017 - ongoing

The above videos show one hundred at fifty in a court as installed for Re-Art Show 21: This Is Not Here. During the duration of this show I learned something very interesting; as the bots continually collide and rub they produce the same micro-plastic silt that is quickly saturating the entire ocean. A detail of the path’s carved in this silt by the feet of the robots can be seen:

Microcosm Beta (detail of microplastic silt)

Upon taking down the show I carefully collected this silt. I was surprised to find how abrasive the minuscule particles are as my hands lost skin. Meanwhile I began to play with larger stones.

Crab Cairn (Sebastian) 2018 - ongoing

Sebastian, the first crab cairn, explores Socrates Sculpture Park.

ruins - 2017 - ongoing

By March 2018 I had collected a lot! Quickly I began to run out of space in my studio at Amorphic Robot Works.

Cairn Car (Trophying the Problem) - 2018 - ongoing

My car became a crab of it’s own and can be found driving the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens as it assists in the collection of more Polystyrene.

Microcosm Taxonomy with a Ying Yang Stone - 2018

polystyrene, reclaimed pine, ying yang stone

Each retired and included running rock specimen from Microcosm Beta is displayed with it’s location of finding, number, and date found. A found stone of equal mass black and grey is placed atop the frame.

Still Life, Again - 2018

polystyrene, copper, found crab


This body of work is in it’s young stages and I am curious where it will lead. The issue of Polystyrene entering the Oceans is a global issue. The beauty of the above forms is contrasted by the reality of their lost microplastic particles. While it takes stones thousands of years to erode and find their form, it takes only days for Polystyrene to collide where water meets land to produce these same forms. The logistical histories of found polystyrene have been lost but two things so far are clear:

They float down the river’s East and Hudson.

There is no recyclable method for polystyrene.

I would like to collect all I can and record a taxonomy of my findings. Storage is an issue, and the reality of no proper disposal method an even greater issue.

For more information on polystyrene visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene