Between ecological urgency, aesthetic attraction, economic commitment and memorial value, Géraldine Le Roux reveals how fishing nets abandoned at sea (ghost nets) – set ecosystems in motion.
The emergence and international recognition of ghost net art are at the heart of the book. Sculptures made from pieces of nets, baskets woven from rope and ultra-realistic representations obtained from sewn fibres are the work of more than one hundred Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from Australia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe. The artistic gestures borrow as much from the language of the basket makers as from the contemporary art world.
By reconstructing the processes of collection on the beach and the transformation of marine waste in artists’ studios as well as the display of artworks in galleries and museums, the book questions the place of plastic in the world. It addresses plastic issues in the light of Indigenous and local knowledge and sovereignties.
The ghost net, an object that is a priori fallen, is regenerated as much by ecological and artistic gestures as by the memories it opens up and the actions it interweaves between past, present and future.
Géraldine Le Roux is an anthropologist at the University of Western Brittany (France), Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University (Australia) and freelance curator. Her research lies in the fields of Australian and Pacific studies, museum studies and environmental art. Thematically, she concentrates on issues relating to indigeneity, art worlds and the values of cross-cultural engagement. She has been working for more than twenty years with Australian Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, as well as Polynesian, Samoan, Maori and Kanak artists. In 2012 in Paris, Géraldine Le Roux exhibited for the first time ghost net artworks and coordinated in 2021 the first French museum collection of ghost net art. To follow the trail of plastic, she embarked on a round-the-world sailing expedition, a citizen-science experiment that she described in Sea-Sisters: Un Équipage Féminin à l'Épreuve de la Pollution dans le Pacifique (Winner of the best book for the planet award, 2021).
"Géraldine Le Roux travels the oceans with the eye of a committed anthropologist. Since her pioneering thesis on Australian Indigenous and Pacific arts from the Australian East Coast, she has continuously contextualized and valorized emerging and established artists' work through scientific articles and exhibitions. In this book, she inventories unique artistic creations and intersects them with Indigenous voices and discourses by other users of the sea: all of them invite us to take care of the oceans."
– Barbara Glowczewski, Anthropologist and Professorial Researcher at the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS)