#Plastikophobia: An Instagram Trap to Raise Environmental Awareness

Plastikophobia art installation created by Benjamin Von Wong.

Plastikophobia art installation created by Benjamin Von Wong.
Social impact artist Benjamin Von Wong is back with another immersive art experience aimed at raising awareness about the harm of plastic pollution. After his #Strawpocalypse installation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Von Wong turned his attention to Singapore where he built #Plastikophobia, along with fellow artist Joshua Goh and social media strategist Laura François. The exhibit is currently on display at the Sustainable Singapore Gallery (SSG) in the Marina Barrage through April 18th.

With #Plastikophobia, Benjamin Von Wong wants to lure unsuspecting passersby in his cool, cosmic art piece to take Instagram photos. At first glance, the installation looks like a shiny crystal cave, but closer inspection reveals that it is made out of 18,000 plastic cups. He hopes that, while taking selfies, visitors will suddenly feel overwhelmed by all the plastic and experience “plastikophobia,” which he defines as an “extreme aversion to single-use plastics.”

Single-use plastics have become so pervasive that most people do not stop to think about what happens to the items after they use them. They are just adding to the growing plastic pollution problem in the world. The 18,000 cups in the exhibit came from 22 hawker centers (open-air fast food markets) collected over two days, and François estimates this is only half the number of cups they use. Using these figures, it is not unreasonable to estimate that all 144 hawker centers in Singapore waste more than 21 million plastic cups every year. The exhibit will hopefully inspire people to have conversations about ways to reduce their single-use plastic consumption.

Plastikophobia art installation created by artist Benjamin Von Wong.
After collecting the cups, it took Von Wong and François and their team of more than 30 volunteers two 14-hour days to clean them and about a week to arrange the cups to form a cave. For a more in-depth look at how the exhibit came together, check out Von Wong’s YouTube video on Making #Plastikophobia below: