6A: NOV 1 - Visual Impact


Throughout our lives, we learn through telling stories. Books help teach us to read, morals and cultural values are taught through legends, and we create connections with others through sharing our own personal experiences. These stories create powerful lessons and help us to understand complex, maybe even daunting, ideas.

With any story, often the visual sticks with us the most, either what we picture in our minds or what we see on a screen. Images our powerful tools that help us to communicate ideas, and can come in many different varieties. Think back to the Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary. How different would that story be if it were just in audio? What would be like if you read it off a page?

Douglas Coupland’s Vortex at the Vancouver Aquarium is a radical art instillation that explores the seductive yet sinister relationship between human and plastics. The story of Vortex really begins ten years ago, when Coupland was on a trip to Japan. There he came across a plastic bottle.

He admired this bottle so much that he bought a collection of them, poured all of the contents down the sink of his hotel room, and shipped them back to Canada to make into art. Fast forward ten years to 2016 and Douglas is visiting Haida Gwaii in northern BC. The land of the Haida Nation is considered one of the cleanest places in the world. On the beach there, Doug discovered a plastic bottle washed up on the shoreline. This plastic bottle was the same kind of bottle Coupland had discovered in Japan 10 years earlier. This visual connection to another part of the world spurred inspiration for Coupland to create Vortex.

The visualization of your message will differ depending on the audience, topic and chosen media. However, at its core, you are creating a connection between your audience and the story. So how will you tell it?


Plastic is a daunting and immense global problem. Often times it feels like a challenge that too big for us to handle. How can we communicate numbers and powerful written statements, into visual connections that others may feel inspired, empowered or impacted?

You task is to communicate a fact about plastic in a way that will help others connect to it:

1) Choose one of the statistics below:

  • Researchers estimate that roughly 300 tonnes to plastic was produced globally in 2016
  • Plastic Enters our ocean at a rate of one dump truck per minute
  • Only 5% of plastic is recycled worldwide
  • Plastic does not decompose, it just breaks apart
  • At the current rate, plastic could outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050
  • Plastic infiltrates the food chain, and through this connection could make it onto our dinner plates

Statistics from Ocean Wise #BePlasticWise campaign http://ocean.org/plastic-wise/

2) Create visual communication piece to describe/explain this quote in any media other than plain text. Some possible methods you could choose:

  • infographic
  • drawing/painting/sketch
  • photography
  • collage (magazines, newspapers)

3) Post a photo of your creation on the gallery, and include in the description:

  • Which fact about plastic is your visual describing
  • How did you find inspiration for this visual?

4) Comment on TWO other photos 

  • what reaction did this visual cause in you?
  • what audience do you think would respond best to this visual?

Discussion posts and comments you post are what will be used in the final paper! Be are clear, respectful and engaged in your responses as well as while commenting on others. Don't forget to ask questions!

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