Plastics will indeed be the artifacts of our era, particularly in oceans, where the material invades ecosystems and floats around the world. More than five trillion pieces of plastic already fill the seas, with some nine million tons added each year.
Rosenthal observed how bottles, toys, and food wrappers fade, wear out, yet never disappear. He started building and photographing sculptures of ocean trash to illustrate the problem of marine pollution. Eventually he began to gather the detritus to use as his art materials, cleaning a small section of the coast over and over again. “I started to just collect as much as I could and go back to my studio to sort it out,” he says. Each sculpture has