Project components

Plastic-free Biennale has a bunch of different moving parts. We’re constantly updating what we plan to do in response to the situation before us, practicalities, costs, energies etc. You can read a simple document about our overall project here. As the components come to life in the world, we’ll link to them on this page.
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Kim Williams at the threshold of our exhibition in building 101 on Cockatoo Island

In building 101 (the old Paymaster’s Office) we have set up the Plastic-free Pavilion which will house drawings, objects, texts and videos produced during the live period of the project (from March 14 to June 8 2020).

You can take a “Virtual Tour” of our installation here.

Find us in building 101 on Cockatoo Island during the Sydney Biennale. The exhibition is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 5pm. To get here, catch a ferry from Circular Quay. Here’s some info from the Biennale website about the Cockatoo Island venue and here is a handy map to help you find your way around once you get here.


Plastic in the House is a song written by Kim Williams with the participation of some local Illawarra kids.

Watch the music video here:

Plastic in the House music video (with captions)

Listen to the song here:

Songwriting, vocals, kazoo and ukulele: Kim Williams
Vocals: Lucas Ihlein
Keyboard: India Sweeney
Chorus: The Plastic Highlighters (Hazel Henchion, Harper Masters, Albie Muller, Elkie Peacock, with Jarvis Peacock)
Sound engineer: Ben Davies
Video production: Wayward Films


Read about the various Manifesto iterations here. So far there are three, probably more to come!

First Plastic-free Manifesto – Ooshies Dialogue – by Kim Williams and Lucas Ihlein
Second Plastic-free Manifesto – Household Audit Concrete Poem – by Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams
Third Plastic-free Manifesto – WHITEFELLA TRASH IS NOT BIO-DEGRADABLE – by Aunty Barbara Nicholson


How can the artworld reconcile its desire for ‘professional’ aesthetic outcomes with the ethical imperative for environmental responsibility?

As a socially-engaged art process, the aim is to support and catalyse the desire of the Biennale as an organisation to transform its own processes. Through meetings and discussion workshops, it has become clear that the people of the Biennale wish to change the way the Biennale operates. What might these changes look like? One aspect involves creating a binding policy document committing the organisation to environmentally sustainable processes. In assisting with the change process, we want to respect and acknowledge the existing wisdom of the staff members and their desire for change. We want to hold a visioning workshop with key gallery/museum production staff to provocatively explore the question – “what would a genuinely plastic-free biennale look like?”


Jad and Milton run this busy food and beverage outlet on Cockatoo Island. How can we collaborate to shift away from the habit of disposable packaging for takeaway food? This is an ongoing exploration!


At Cockatoo Island as part of our process of live engagement we’ll host some events with scientists, media makers, artists and caterers to playfully explore the implications and complications of our desire to go Plastic-free:

Microplastics – Citizen Science Field Trip

How pristine is our shoreline? Join artists Kim Williams and Lucas Ihlein, with University of Wollongong scientists Dr Hugh Forehead and Nuwanthi Kristhombuge, to participate in a hands-on survey of microplastics on a local Sydney beach. Learn how scientific data is generated, and contribute to a national survey of microplastics in this fun event.
Suitable for families and kids aged 6+. 
Bring water, hats and sunscreen. 
Dates: Wed April 22nd and Sunday April 26, from 12pm-3:30pm
Limited Places, Bookings required.
View these events on Biennale of Sydney website.

Pop-Up Wash-Up! 

Can we imagine a world without plastic? Join artists, scientists, poets and caterers for a collaborative washing up session facilitated by artists Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams. Presented in collaboration with Cockatoo Island cafe Societé Overboard, Pop-Up Wash-Up! is a fun event with performances and discussion exploring the attraction / repulsion of one of the most useful substances on the planet today. 
Suitable for all ages.
Date: Sat 30th May, 12pm-3:30pm
Special guests include Dr Jennifer Lavers, Dr Helen Ramoutsaki, MC Nannarchy, The Plastic Highlighters feat. Polly Ethylene and Teflon Tony …and more…
View this event at Biennale of Sydney website.


At the beginning of this project we are gleefully ignorant about the gnarly problems and promises of plastics. Well, we know probably about as much as the average person, but we’re by no means experts. We hope to learn more as we go along.

One of the things we do to keep track of the plastic phenomenon is to collect links in this google document. We are constantly updating it, so please send us any further links you think we should check out.

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