Tatsiana Kuzniatsova. “Microplastic Everyday” and “CAMERA COVIDA” (29.09-27.11)

 Microplastic Everyday

The project features microscope images of microplastics and microfibers obtained as a part of the result conducted at the Center for Environmental Solutions (Minsk, Belarus) and Coalition Clean Baltic (Uppsala, Sweden), as well as images from the Internet.

Our everyday life is full of invisible things that, nevertheless, affect us and the world around. Microplastics is one them. About 70% of the world’s plastic ends up in the world’s oceans, where it breaks up into tiny particles. Moreover, many manufacturers purposefully add plastic microparticles to creams, decorative cosmetics, and fabrics. For example, one tube of a scrub can contain up to 300 000 plastic microbeads.

Eventually, microplastics end up in our stomach. Sea inhabitants often confuse plastic microparticles with plankton and swallow them – sometimes it leads to their death, but often they “live” to end up at our table. On average, with seafood and water a European consumes more than 11 000 microbeads a year. Research has shown that 93% of bottled water sold in stores around the world already contains microplastics. Plastic microbeads cannot be collected and recycled, as they do not dissolve in the water – a cause of additional dangers. At the same time, these particles draw other hazardous chemicals into the ocean becoming a source of toxic effects on humans and animals.

This photoproject shows that invisible plastic particles have already become a part of our new reality. The images combine microscope images of microplastics with photographs of objects all of us are familiar with (scrubs, wet wipes, cotton swabs, drinking straws, cigarettes, glitter, a tea bag) that contain plastic – something we are often unaware of.

 

CAMERA COVIDA, or a Virus that Doesn’t Exist

Tatsiana Kuzniatsova

During the global coronavirus pandemic, quarantine was not introduced in Belarus. When the virus was only starting to spread around the country, the state was completely denying its existence, and the deaths were explained by the “wrong” lifestyle of the deceased. Tractor and saunas were claimed to be the best cure.

At the same time, many Belarusians, aware of the danger and able to work remotely, went to voluntary self-isolation. This project resulted from Tatsiana Kuzniatsova’s social isolation. Staying in her apartment in one of Minsk “khrushchyovkas” all day long, she drew attention to some unusual sounds that from time to time she could hear from the staircase. Staring through the peephole at what was going on there, Tatsiana managed to capture her neighbors’ lives.

Here is a woman going downstairs with a bottle and returning hardly able to walk – she is being dragged by two men; a child is running down the stairs, making growling sounds and bumping into all the doors, here is her grandmother with a baby carriage; a disabled woman is crawling up and down to her top floor on all fours. Covert observation revealed what usually remains invisible – the lives of people in ordinary Minsk “khrushchyovkas”. But do others also see them? Apparently, the problems of all these people are the same viruses that, if not visible, do not officially exist.