Visual Arts » 2D

The Art of the "Penalty"

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What's the real cost of international soccer mania? Brazil's Word Cup efforts reportedly have an $11.3 billion price tag. A ticket to the finals can cost just under $1,000.

But not all the costs associated with the game are so easily quantified. UK-based artist Mandy Barker decided to explore another cost, one that represents both the widespread appeal of the sport and the messy ways that the whole world deals with their trash. In December 2013, Barker sent out a message via social media: "Calling all footballs." And the world responded, sending her 769 soccer balls and 223 additional balls, all sourced from beaches in 41 countries and 144 beaches.

Barker's soccer-focused Penalty series reflects an ongoing exploration of environmental issues in her work. - MANDY BARKER
  • Mandy Barker
  • Barker's soccer-focused Penalty series reflects an ongoing exploration of environmental issues in her work.

She assembled the balls into geographic collections, photographing them as well as 32 individual ocean-worn orbs. The project, Penalty, aims to highlight the realities of marine pollution, but it is also beautiful, inviting viewers in before asking them to consider the enormity of the environmental damage caused by the way the world handles the garbage generated by even the most joyful pastimes.
[h/tFast Co Design]

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