Abstract

From the inception of modern, petrochemical-derived synthetic plastics to the contemporary situation in which over 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year, media assemblages and plastics constitute a range of intra-actions that contribute to our understanding of contemporary material politics. This article explores a number of issues surrounding entanglements of media and plastics, including the formation of vast oceanic plastic garbage patches, the treatment of highly toxic electronics waste, the usage of thermal papers that disrupt the human endocrine system, and the formation of technical fossils whose lack of biodegradability forms one strand of evidence within discourses of the Anthropocene. The material politics of plastics places into conversation temporal scales ranging from geological rhythms, which are measured in millions of years, to the hyperconsumption of 24/7 global capitalism, asking pertinent questions about how we conceptualize contemporary ethical and biopolitical issues surrounding humans and other living systems.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1751-7435
Print ISSN
1743-2197
Pages
pp. 355-375
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-23
Open Access
No
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