Made from plastic bags, this larger than life-size jellyfish floats from the ceiling, pointing toward the issue of plastic in the ocean and the dangers it presents for ocean wildlife. Floating in ocean tides, these not-so-ephemeral wisps of plastic highly resemble a favorite snack of many large sea creatures: jellyfish. The consequences of such mistaken identity have made the news. A pilot whale dies, malnourished, with 20 pounds of plastic bags in her stomach. More than half of all sea turtles appear to have eaten plastic bags, thinking they were jellyfish. The notorious longevity of plastic and the amazing longevity of certain jellyfish species make for an interesting, if not macabre, marriage of ideas.
Maris Polanco is a Colombian-American scientist, musician, and artist based in Detroit. A graduate of both MSU and U of M, she currently teaches science classes at the collegiate level. Maris’s interests include appreciation and conservation of ecosystems, increasing science literacy in all people, and finding inspiration in the natural world. Her previous work in photography focuses on wildlife and biodiversity (Flickr: marisceleste) and her current solo musical project involves themes such as nature, harmony, and optimism (SoundCloud: marisceleste.) Maris also performs on trombone as a part of the Detroit Party Marching Band, a guerilla street band dedicated to bringing music to underutilized spaces in the city.