'floating polka-dots' for PIF

palau pangkor is a tiny island off the west coast of malaysia, a 4h-drive away from kuala lumpur. the island of only 8km² is well known for its beautiful beaches and fresh sea-food. like so many other tourist destinations, the island is struggling to keep its local identity, preserve traditions and culture against a globalized market. tourists not only bring cash, they also bring trash. and that's where i come into the picture. 

this year's pangkor island festival has a focus on environmental art and education. "By inviting artists to the island, it not only encourages interaction amongst Pangkorians, but also fosters new interaction between locals and artists, thus adding a new dimension to the livelihood of Pangkor communities. Pangkor Island Festival aspires to integrate community culture, history and folklore with local tourism, highlight the best of Pangkor’s unique local delicacies as well as its touristic and scenic attractions. It will be a grand celebration where both Pangkorians and visitors are welcome to join in the fun!" (quote from www.pangkorislandfestival.com)

the land-art installation that i'm planing for PIF is 'floating polka-dots'. from far away it will look like colourful circles floating in the water. coming closer people will notice that these circles are actually made from ocean debris. 
photoshop montage for 'floating polka-dots' 2014,  pangkor island, malaysia
i've been working with ocean debris since 2011 using it as medium and color palette. up to now i have been doing land-art installations directly on the beach. 'floating polka-dots' will be the first installation actually situated in the ocean. apart from being new and exciting this is very meaningful to me. all of the waste that i work with has been in the ocean, sometimes for decades. most of this waste is plastic and since plastic never goes away, we have millions of tons of plastic debris accumulating in our oceans (www.coastalcare.org/2009/11/plastic-pollution). with 'floating polka-dots' i'm showing the impact of our human behaviour on the oceans. it is a grave reminder to be sensitive to the waters that surround us and not to pollute.

i'm often asked why i'm doing what i'm doing. in the broadest sense i'm inspired by nature. i love being outdoors, exposed to the elements and surrounded by the beauty of wilderness. the fragrance of a blossom, the force of salty winds from the sea, the joy of fresh green, the calm when the sun goes down, all of these are most valuable moments for me. seeing the left-overs of our consumerist society and its fatal implications in this pristine environment makes me feel ashamed, sick and angry all at the same time. i want to wake up the world and take action right away!
saying that, it's quite a different feeling when i'm on the beach, creating an art piece. i usually don't listen too much to that critical voice. it can make me quite depressed. immersed in the creative process, i see the world the way a child might see it. looking at rubbish this way, i perceive colors and shapes. i see value and potential within these materials: endless possibilities of rearranging them, combining them into new shapes and forms, into stories that no one has heard before, pictures no one has seen before. aren't these discarded objects are a mirror of our society? of our desires, our conveniences,of our selfishness and of our ignorance. 
my art installations give me the chance to hold a mirror in front of our consumerist society so we may see our mistakes and change them. and so we may see the beauty of nature and love, enjoy and preserve it! combining these two aspects by unifying criticism and awareness is what my art is about.

apart from doing a land-art installation (or should i call it ocean-art installation:) i will be sharing my experiences of working with waste within nature on monday night. for details please visit www.pangkorislandfestival.com/系列活動/分享會/sharing-session-linna-klauss/

i'm very much looking forward to the creative process and the collaboration with PIF! let's see what the oceans bring us!


clean ocean youth movement

this weekend i was invited to participate at a youth conference again. i love youth conferences! this one was 'CLEAN OCEAN YOUTH MOVEMENT 2014' organized by the society of wilderness (www.sow.org.tw) and held at the national museum of marine biology (www.nmmba.gov.tw/english) in kenting, taiwan. its purpose is to provide young people with latest research on marine pollution, generating ideas and action plans to enable them to come up with their own successful campaign. participating students are chosen from all over the country to join and then share their knowledge and experiences with their fellow students once they are back at their schools and universities. it's a great way to spread knowledge and action through so-called multipliers, finding solutions for environmental problems within close reach of their own communities.
for me personally, apart from this great chance to trigger environmental protection and action, conferences are the best place to meet interesting people! let me introduce some of the speakers to you i got to know at this conference in taiwan.

beth terry comes from california and has seen one of chris jordan's photographs of a giant albatross on midway island, found dead with plastic waste in its belly. right then and there she decided to try and lead a plastic-free life. that's not possible! was my first reaction. but it's been 5 years since then and she hasn't bought a single new plastic item. this picture shows beth with her entire plastic waste from the year 2013. she's written a book about her experiences called 'Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too' published by skyhorse publishing in 2012. here are some of her tips that make a plastic-free life look so easy (it is definitely easier than you imagine):

more great tips are on her fb-site www.facebook.com/MyPlasticfreeLife
my favourite one is 'make your own'! by making my own e.g. museli bars i not only avoid packaging, but i (1) know what's in it (2) can use healthier ingredients (3) know that it's fresh (4) save some $. love it!

another interesting talk was 'the lighter project' by shigeru fujieda, professor of driftology of kagoshima university, japan. he has been collecting plastic lighters on japanese shores since 1997. the key to his scientific work is that lighters very often show addresses of shops if they are given away as a freebie. this way mr.fujieda is able to track the origin of the lighters and recapture their voyage on high seas. not only does this give a bigger scientific picture of ocean currents, but it also shows the main perpetrators by country when it comes to marine pollution.

other speakers at the conference included marting thiel from chile (www.bedim.cl), la benida hui from the u.s. (www.rareawareness.com), tracey read from hongkong (www.plasticfreeseas.org), jason from taiwan (www.sow.org.tw), rui guang chao from taiwan and joy from greenpeace taiwan (www.greenpeace.org).

my talk 'from waste to art: changing values by changing perception' examines the aesthetic, commercial and intrinsic value of things we use. taking a closer look reveals that this value changes throughout the life-span of things, from design, fabrication, want/craving, acquisition, use, discard to an existence beyond the product's intended consumerist life. it is us who give value to these things. if something is cheap in monetary terms it doesn't mean it's cheap in environmental and humane terms. plastic is the best example. it is dead cheap. but it is idiotic to think that plastic is cheap. we have to pay for it in the long run. not with money, but with our health, with toxins in our food, with polluted nature parks and waters, with inhumane working conditions, the list goes on. and even more daunting, we do not only have to pay now, but for generations to come. my message is to use less and appreciate what we already have!

impromptu 'waste mountain water' installation in front of the big aquarium with our group, the turtles! 

the whole conference was zero-waste, so we all brought our own water bottles, cutlery and bowls. on the right you can see that a plastic sponge was replaced by a natural luffa plant (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa), detergent replaced by soda and natural soap. clean means clean for everyone here, not only for humans!
on the left you see the hongkong representatives at the conference: dana and tracey from www.plasticfreeseas.org and joy and me. thanks girls, it was awesome to roll together!

lastly i want to thank everyone from the society of wilderness (www.sow.org.tw) who was involved in bringing this inspiring and fruitful event to life. i want to thank all the students who worked so hard over the course of 4 days and came to best results including presentations, performances, public spaeches, collection of signatures and creative repurposing of plastic waste - you were great! to read more about the clean ocean youth movement 2014, follow this link www.cleanoceanyouthmovement.blogspot.tw


artist talk at takt artist residency, berlin

i'm very happy to invite you to an evening of artist talks on wednesday 13th at 7pm at takt artist residency, berlin. my dear friend and talented artist nina thorwart (www.ninathorwart.de) and i will be introducing our art practices. the talk i'm holding is titled 'from waste to art: changing values by changing perception'.
looking forward to seeing my old berlin crowd again!

'takt talk'
takt artist residency
weserstrasse 11
berlin friedrichshain

more info on https://www.facebook.com/events/1484944171762421/


lost'n'found at ocean park hong kong

 talking about mainstream: with over 20,000 visitors per day ocean park hong kong is one of the 7 most popular theme parks worldwide. the park states to provide 'unique experiences that combine entertainment with education and conservation'. as a visitor i always felt that this credo disappears under the mass of entertainment and amusement attractions and the commercialization of animals and nature. for the first time now, not being a visitor but a contributor to these experiences, i'm getting a different angle to this picture. working within the educational department i can see their efforts of bringing awareness, knowledge and conservation approaches into the park. talking about oceans these days is not only amusement! displaying an installation like lost'n'found shows their willingness to confront visitors with the threatening human impacts on the oceans. it is a couragious step away from a generalized, partial and romantisized  perception of the complex marine eco-system!

lost'n'found is part of ocean park's 'blue matters' campaign addressing the problem of marine pollution, over-fishing and marine biodiversity in hong kong. to all of these problems solutions are on hand: ocean park is now only serving sustainable seafood at its restaurants, the ocean park conservation foundation (www.opcf.org.hkis monitoring species in hongkong waters and trained staff is raising awareness of the negative impacts of plastic packaging. the volume of plastic packaging at the park is reduced by replacing single-use plastic packaging with bio-degradable packaging at all stalls (coming into effect this year) and promoting water fountains to refill your water bottle. this 3-year campaign is a step in the right direction, with a huge impact on over 20,000 hongkongers and mainland chinese each day. from this angle mainstream also means a great chance!

lost'n'found is located directly in front of the old-hongkong-road on your way up to the cable car. you can't miss it. the waste-pai-dong will be on display all through july and august 2014 and is open every day from 10am-5:30pm. 

this is the text on the panel:
"It took one single day, one single beach and one group of motivated people to collect all the rubbish you see in this hawker-stall. It was collected on a beach in South Country Park on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Every single piece you see here has been in the ocean, sometimes for years, before it got washed ashore. The colours are neither altered manually nor digitally. 
Plastic lasts forever! Day by day, year by year, decade by decade plastic is accumulating in the oceans. All sea creatures, from tiny plankton to gigantic whales, are suffering the consequences. They get trapped, strangeled, poisoned and suffer fatal injuries internally as well as externally. These creatures pay for our convenience. Please be aware that plastic lasts forever when you buy your next plastic bottle. 
You are responsible for the choices you make! 
You can make a difference right now by refilling your water-bottle at one of our drinking-water-fountains! Please refer to the guide-map for locations.
Renowned German-born Hong Kong artist liina klauss adopts her signature style of using local beach rubbish and found natural materials to create environmental installations. Gathering a community of volunteers she creates temporary installation on beaches worldwide. Her installations raise awareness for the beauty of nature, for the impact we humans have on it and for the human potential to turn something ugly into something beautiful. 
Through her art liina redefines the value we give waste on an aesthetic as well as on an intrinsic level."

p.s. more recent pictures of lost'n'found in ocean park on facebook.com/artofliinaklauss


article in south china morning post

SCMP on june 25th 2014
it's a small picture on the front page, but still it's the front page! here's an article in the south china morning post about environmental artists in hongkong: monti lai, benjamin hao and me. how we work, where we find challenges in this metropolis and what's driving us to do what we do. the full article by kate whitehead is online:


to enlarge article double-click on picture 


waste mountain water / 垃圾山水 in taiwan

'waste mountain water / 垃圾山水 no.9', 2014, jialeshuei beach, taiwan

this is the first art installation that i have done outside of hong kong. it is located on a beautiful beach in kenting national park on the southern tip of taiwan. when i inspected the beach prior to the art installation, i was doubting we'd find enough man-made waste to fill up the whole colour spectrum. sadly enough we did. with the help of over 30 passionate art activists, we painted an area of about 10 square meters with all colours of the rainbow: fishing nets, single-use plastic bottles, boots, shades, straws, a toilet seat... the list is infinite. most of the trash was trapped within rocks and vegetation and not visible on first sight. compared to hong kong there is definitely less trash per square meter on this beach, yet the findings are almost identical: predominantly light-weight plastic. 

some of the found objects i recognized from hong kong. asking if these things were sold in taiwan the activists negated. another bottle still had its origins 'made in the phillipines' printed on it. in my hands i am holding proof of this simple yet horrible truth: warm ocean currents carry plastic waste from south-east-asia towards the north. some of this waste gets washed ashore on beaches like this one in southern taiwan, the rest travels on to the north pacific where it accumulates in a gyre. gathering toxins and breaking down into ever smaller pieces, these pieces are eaten by fish and other sea-creatures. tiny micro-plastics are eaten by plankton. apart from polluting our oceans and threatening wildlife, this man-made material enters the food chain! for more scientific information please visit www.5gyres.org
often i get asked 'what can i do?' and i say 'start with yourself!' in this colour-wheel like in so many other installations that i've done, the single-use water bottles take up almost a fifth of the space. we can eliminate these convenient yet all-polluting PET bottles: bring your own! it might be a tiny action, but if a couple of million people all do the same, it has a huge impact (as we can see in its negative!!).

in the face of so many horrifying facts, i am yet again grateful to meet amazing people who want to help and be part of the solution. to each and everyone who came on that hot day, picking up trash, sorting, sweating, abandoning the surf-board (how hard is that!), playing, taking pictures, and even using the installation for a bonfire: this is not possible without you! you are the ones who spread the message further! my heartfelt gratitude to you. thank you.
i want to especially thank claire from bossa-nova-beach-cafe for organizing this event: you are not only an excellent cook but also an extremely talented event manager! thanks also to la benida for her enthusiasm, help and hospitality: we felt like part of the family!
a big thank you also to society of wilderness (www.sow.org.tw), kenting national park (www.ktnp.gov.tw), kuroshio ocean foundation (www.kuroshio.org.tw) and environmental information association (www.e-info.org.tw) for their support.

more coverage on http://e-info.org.tw/node/99716
and http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/life/breakingnews/1020868


art awareness activists needed in taiwan!

i'm very excited to announce that we'll be doing a waste mountain water / 垃圾山水 in taiwan end of this month!
it's a beautiful beach on the southern most tip of taiwan, blessed with turquoise waters and waves ideal for surfing. the beach is close to a laid back fishing village called jialeshuei. if you happen to be in the area, please drop by! if not please tell everyone you know in taiwan!
for easier communication my friend claire from bossanova beach cafe (very recommendable by the way:) put an event on facebook. the link to the location is very helpful: https://www.facebook.com/events/562257527216788/permalink/562258773883330/

if you want to help spread the word the old-school way, please print out this poster and paste it - yeah:) 
download full resolution poster here: 

friday 30th may 9am to sundown
530日週五 上午9時至日落
and saturday 31st may 9am-12pm

jialeshuei fishing village, southern taiwan 
tea road 248, manzhou township, pingtung county port villagers

art installation will be on display until sunday

see you in taiwan!