One of Benjamin Von Wong‘s greatest strengths as an artist is that – in his own words – he’s often “too naive” to realize how crazy his ideas are. “I dive into them head-first,” he says, and thanks to the help of people who are often complete strangers at the beginning, his projects often blossom from small ideas into a full blown production.
His latest project arose when Von Wong found out that 50% of all the plastic we use is only used once before being thrown away. After that, it takes approximately 450 years to degrade. If we do nothing, there will be more plastics than fish in the sea by 2050, and Von Wong wants to stop that.
I knew was that plastic pollution was a boring topic and I had to find a way to make it more interesting. Thanks to [some] amazing individuals, we transformed a lifeless pile of used garbage into a message: #MermaidsHatePlastic
First, Von Wong and his team borrowed 10,000 plastic bottles from waste manager Tomra. Over the course of a few days, a small army of volunteers came to help de-label, un-cap and clean the bottles. The team also needed a huge warehouse to experiment with different patterns. From there, all they needed was to add a mermaid, which is where Cynthia came in.
Von Wong’s camera was suspended by pulleys and plywood, and controlled via iPad, while being connected to a 52? TV borrowed from Costco. The team spent a full day just to experiment with different plastic bottle configurations. Between each shot, hair, bodypaint and mermaid tail had to be tweaked to perfection.
Sony mirrorless cameras can be controlled by a free app called Play Memories. Though super handy, it would take approximately 6 seconds to take each photo.