Plastic species

Daphne is a visual image maker from the Netherlands who is inspired by her wonder for the world around her. She makes accessible work, but incorporates deeper layers into it. From concept to visualization, from complex information to understandable representation to minimalist image in which only the core is visible. She also gets inspiration from psychology. What drives people and how can imagery play a role in this?

Daphne is versatile and can express her ideas in various visual media expressions like photographing, filming, animating, and illustrating, but her roots lie with her love for graphic art. After completing her education as a graphic designer, she started studying Image & Media Technology at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. There, she can combine all her visual qualities and she uses new media to bring her concepts and ideas into practice. Daphne is driven to discover new things, and in her work she is concerned with the conservation of nature and oceans.


Her project SUbocean is about ocean pollution, the plastic species and her investigating how climate change and sustainability can best be portrayed.

SUbocean will give an interdisciplinary, innovative way of seeing the ocean’s pollution. With this installation, Daphne will show her audience a new way of looking, and provide a different perspective for thinking about pollution. By letting them think differently, people will be able to acquire new patterns. This will change the polluting habits of her audience.

Biography of the Plastic Species:

Within a few years, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. There should be a way to introduce the ‘new’ species in the ocean that are replacing the ‘old’ living ones.

First, Daphne created the Biography of the Plastic Species. An ‘animal species’ that does not belong in the ocean, but if we don’t do anything it will be the only species left…

The images of Biography of the Plastic Species are inspired by images drawn for Darwin‘s evolution theory. Daphne substituted the insect or animal species with a finite life cycle for single-use plastics with an infinite cycle.

Optical illusion:

The way of showing those images is what makes this project innovative. It uses the human brain’s ability to combine the images from two eyes into one 3D world, within the field of psychology they call this; binary depth indication. With a special lens, i make a virtual reality experience. But one eye gets to see an ocean with an animal and the other eye gets the same image but instead of the animal it gets an image of a ‘plastic spices’. Your brain will make a combined/morphed image from those two images. If you look with one eye you’ll see the difference between the image you see with your eyes.

This is also the problem with the pollution of the ocean with single-use plastic. If you don’t know what is wrong with using single-use plastic or that it stays on earth without any purpose you are not likely to change this habit. So if you can’t see what is wrong because you throw your plastic away and you never see it again. you don’t see the problem. By showing the link between animals and plastics people have to see it and change.


The idea of making people see that a living organism gets replaced by a plastic species is visualized using different mediums, so it will be understandable for different people as well. The installation SUbocean consists of a few things: The encyclopedia for the Biography of the Plastic Species, a stereo viewer in the body of a beach binoculars viewer, wall posters of the surreal image collages used in the stereo viewer, a wall with autostereoscopic patterns, and an explanatory animation of the project.

The encyclopedia for the biography of the plastic species

An encyclopedia with the new plastic species. Species I made are; One Day Fly, Caterpillar, Honey Bee, Sea Shell, Grasshopper, Mosquito, Turtle, Whale, Jellyfish, Inkfish, Narwhal, Algae, Whale Shark, Starfish, Balloonfish, Clownfish, Sea Lettuce, Pearl Oysters, Sea Sponge, salamander, Flatfish, Lobster and Seagull.

Stereo Viewer

The stereo viewer looks like beach binoculars, the ones where you can put a coin in. With the viewer, you can look at stereoscopic images. Both eyes get a different view, and your brain will make a combined image of the things you see. How you look determines what image you get.

Autostereoscopic pattern

An autostereogram gives an extra dimension to patterns. This is a stereogram, based on a regular two-dimensional image, that results in an optical illusion of a three-dimensional image. You can see the three-dimensional image in the two-dimensional image when you cross your eyes and shift your focal point. Daphne made an autostereoscopic pattern that results in a visual illusion when looking at ocean pollution.

Posters of the surreal image collages

Daphne made surreal images and color collages from pictures she took during traveling. From her hometown Monster to the Milford Sound fiords of New Zealand. Also deserts of Morocco, mountains of Austria, the salt flats in Bolivia, the drylands above the Po in Italy, the seal rocks of eastern Australia, the diverse coast of Peru, the secret beaches in Vietnam, the rocky coastline of Croatia, sandy beaches in France and the forest of Bulgaria. She saw places that were very polluted due to the inability to process waste. Especially in non-western countries, where the use of plastic packaging has developed more recently, the pollution was very visible, because the reuse of plastic has not yet found a place in society other than on trash mountains. Here in the Netherlands, everything is kept reasonably clean, plastic waste is kept well away, and we have virtually nothing to worry about. But plastic continues to exist without us seeing the problems it creates.


A lot of artists create work about climate and pollution. Daphne’s work is different, because of her innovative way to use visual illusion to view two worlds at the same time. She uses the human brain’s ability to combine the images from two eyes into one 3D world. With a special lens, a VR-experience is created: one eye sees a normal ocean with an animal, and the other eye sees the same image but with the animal substituted by an image of a ‘plastic species’. Your brain will make a combined image from Daphne’s work.

April 8, 2019