The Great Pacific Garbage Catch. Müll als Medium einer ‹Plastic Oceanography›


The article is dedicated to a three-fold media-becoming of garbage in oceanographic research. First, it deals with attempts to condense washed-up flotsam through media operations, such as searching, identifying, classifying, or networking it into data on ocean currents. Second, it investigates computer-assisted approaches to collect and recycle accumulated debris found in «garbage patches» by means of drifting barriers. Third, it examines the tracking of sensor-reinforced buoys used to follow the dispersion of marine debris. As an effect, the oceanic interference object plastic waste is included as an element of media-technological operations that make tangible the systemically interlocking circulation of global ocean currents and globalized waste production.

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Vehlken, Sebastian: The Great Pacific Garbage Catch. Müll als Medium einer ‹Plastic Oceanography›. In: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, Jg. 12 (2020), Nr. 2, S. 84-98. DOI:
 author = {Vehlken, Sebastian},
 title = {The Great Pacific Garbage Catch. Müll als Medium einer ‹Plastic Oceanography›},
 year = 2020,
 doi = "\url{}",
 volume = 12,
 address = {Bielefeld},
 journal = {Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft},
 number = 2,
 pages = {84--98},
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