I didn’t mean to turn garbage into my life’s work
but my life was meaningless
as were all of ours under capitalism
I was sick of throwing things away, like shoes, and my friends
My practice is a documentary one that is founded on salvage poetics and processes, site-specific visits and acts, and collage work. I use language to embody the accumulation—and degradation but not disappearance—of waste in the world’s oceans. I am interested in the mappable and unmappable, and I work in essays, photo essays, photographs, and performances. My practice is interested in sparseness, liminality, translation, and working in multiple languages: processes that allow me to collage together juxtaposed concepts and illuminate sites of possibility to expand the imagination. Swimming, sailing, surfing, and otherwise being at sea are also instrumental to my process-based practice.
Maya Weeks is a artist, writer, surfer, and geographer from California working on oceans, waste, climate, and gender. Her first book, on cultural imaginaries of trash in the ocean that examines marine debris as a form of capital accumulation and gendered violence, is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2020. She is currently working on her PhD in Geography at the University of California in Davis. Her dissertation uses artistic research to investigate marine debris as a byproduct of a white supremacist patriarchal economic system based on the production of fossil fuel-derived products that, upon entering the oceans, leach toxicants that disproportionately affect women.