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Plastic Magnitudes - for NaturArchy catalogue

Plastic Magnitudes installation view
Plastic Magnitudes Installation View

Plastic Magnitudes is a community-specific, immersive art installation illuminating research from the Joint Research Centre Commission on plastic particulates and their potential threat to humans as they enter the food chain as microplastics and nanoplastics. 

Inspired by the flow of plastic particulates through water supply systems and the digestive tracts of mussels, the installation juxtaposes visual imagery from plastic particulate research laboratories with images of environmental plastics. 

The physical materials in the installation are constructed from the fusion of repurposed sheet plastic and marine plastic debris, collected during community clean-ups in County Clare and County Galway, Ireland. The plastic was fused with community members during numerous SciArt workshops where participants talked through plastic pollution and policy, eco-anxiety, and solutions. A product of community engagement, the artwork offers a creative learning environment where viewers can positively experience, process, and discuss new perspectives on the puzzling life cycle of plastics.

Community collected sheet plastic and marine plastic debris. Inkjet paper

JD Whitman | Dora Mehn, Jessica Ponti, Marisa Sarria Pereira De Passos & Andrea Valsesia 

In collaboration with: Danijela Brkovic and Ted Charles Brown (program engineer)

Residency Project:

Presentation of Residency @ JRC: 


JD Whitman

JD Whitman is an installation artist, educator, and ocean advocate conducting interdisciplinary research in the Uni- ted States and Ireland. She investigates how art, scientific inquiry, technology, and public engagement can be combined to circumvent ecophobia, eco-anxiety, and climate anxiety in environmental education; facilitate effective science communication; provide nature-based, experiential learning opportunities; increase ecoliteracy rates; and drive collective action. Through multidisciplinary collaborations, she works to develop, implement, and evaluate creative methods for translating marine research to target audiences through community-specific, interactive installations. Currently, JD is the Director of the Global Youth Mentor (GYM) Program at Plastic Tides, a nonpro- fit dedicated to inspiring and catalyzing action towards a plastic-free future through adventure, education, and youth empowerment. She holds an MFA in Photography, MFA in Sculpture, and MA in Studio Arts (University of Iowa, 2019); a Post-Baccalaureate in Fine Art (National University of Ireland, Galway, 2014); and a BA (University of Chicago, 2013).


Instagram: @jdwhitman

Jessica Ponti

Dr. Jessica Ponti, scientist at European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy, has education in Biology, from University of Insubria (Italy) and genetics, from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). She obtained PhD in Science at the Facultés Univeritaires Notre-Dame de la Paix-Namur (Belgium). She has more than 20 years of experience in in vitro testing of chemicals and nanomaterials, investigating cytotoxicity, morphological neoplastic transformation, genotoxicity, and being involved in different activities. She is now responsible of the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and Cryo-TEM facility. She mainly works on physicochemical characterisation of nanomaterials – nanoplastics, their detection in complex matrices and interaction with biological systems.

Marisa Sarria Pereira De Passos

Marisa Sarria Pereira de Passos joined JRC.S.4 Innovation in Science and Policy Making Unit in 2021 as a CA focusing on nanoplastics bioaccumulation and biotechnological detection methods development (Centre of Advanced Studies, CAS6). She is a ERT toxicologist since 2021 and joined the Association of European Toxicologists and Toxicological Societies in 2018, and the Portuguese Toxicology Association in 2020. Current research lines of interest encompass from a better understanding of the health impacts associated to nanosize particles/materials (including plastics) and persistent pollutants exposure to environmental risk assessment methodologies; and contribution to the health-relevant aims of the European Strategy (for Plastics) in a Circular Economy and of the Bioeconomy Strategy by privileging in vitro toxicity methods development towards a paradigm shift prioritizing innovative and robust alternative strategies to animal testing.

Andrea Valsesia

Andrea is a Project Assistant at the JRC in Ispra and holds a PhD in Physics on Nanofabrication of surfaces for biological application. He has been working in the field of nano-micro fabrication, thin films deposition, surface analysis and integration of devices, development of high-tech laboratory equipment, characterization of engineered nanomaterials. His research has been always oriented toward development of methods and experimental tools to support EU regulation in particular in the nanotechnology domain. He was the founder of the spin-off company generated from the Technology Transfer project (Plasmore SRL) and CEO of the company for 5 years. Recently, his research is devoted to the development of analytical methods for the detection, quantification and identification of nanoplastics in complex matrices and in the environment. He started the project at JRC as a Proof-of-Concept in 2018 and he continued to work as a Visiting Scientist in the United States at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Currently, JRC and NIST are closely collaborating in the field of nanoplastics detection and in the development of nanoplastics standards.

Danijela Brkovic

Hello! My name is Danijela Brkovic and I am currently working at the European Commission, DG of International Partnerships focusing on sustainable development and policy in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank as part of my degree requirements. I am originally from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada where I am finis- hing my degrees in Political Science with a concentration in European Studies and Social Justice Studies. I also have a diploma in Public Relations, which I hope to one-day use towards informing people about responsible and sustainable technologies and policies for our shared future. Having the opportunity to exchange ideas and create new narratives to help spread the message of the EU Green Deal is something the world needs more of. It is a great pleasure to be spending my summer in Europe and here in Italy for the next week with all of you. I am happy to be a part of this shared learning experience and excited to see what it may bring.