Ella Pesonen: MEDA202 Prototype

Prototype for ‘Ocean in a Cup’


My prototype consisted of 25 cups arranged neatly on a small table. Each cup held ocean water I collected from the Harbour. My work is about the human dependence on plastic and how it ends up in our oceans. Usually the ocean holds the plastic, but I have reversed the situation to plastic holding the ocean. By doing this I create emphasis to the state of our oceans. Like Olafur Eliasson’s ice sculpture installation Ice Watch from 2015, I hope my work will cause the audience members to feel compelled to take action, instead of just sending them on a guilt trip.



During the presentation, I told my lecturer what the project is about. From where I was standing, I felt like the presentation went well and I have a clear plan of action from now on. Due to the height of the table, it reminded my lecturer of a children’s party. I agree, and I was not going to use it for my final work anyway, just for the prototype. I said that if I was Ai Wei Wei, I would fill an entire large room with cups. Since my budget is limited, I will have to find a smaller area to do this. I was sad to find that the water in the cups was not trembling when I walked around the work; this was supposed to be my ‘earthquake’ part of the theme. I will not present my work in the gallery though, so the room/area I choose may have a different floor.


Three things I need to do:

1) Find a suitable room or area for a larger scale version of my work. I like the area near the building doors, where I could fill out both corners with the cups.

2) I need to find out how many cups I need and how much it costs.

3) Finally, everyone I have shown the work to so far has been amazed about how clear the ocean water is. I need something else in the cups to make sure the audience members realise it is ocean water. This could include: sand, plastic scraps or sea weed. I will take a walk near the beach before next class.


My plan:

Week 12: Find a suitable space, ask if it’s OK to use it, then find out how many cups I need.

Week 13: Purchase the equipment I need and make sure I have enough seaweed/sand/plastic for the cups & test run the art work (with normal water, I have limited access to a car).

Week 14: Plan how I will get everything at campus (especially the water).

Week 15: Deadline.


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