Rome Makes an Appeal to the World with Installation ‘HELP the Ocean’

Running through July 29, 2018, Maria Cristina Finucci’s light installation “HELP the Ocean,” on the ruins of the Basilica Julia in the Roman Forum, sounds the alarm about the state of our planet to millions of tourists and Roman residents. Maria Cristina Finucci is a PPC Ambassador and Supporting Artist Ally.

The installation is part of a cycle that the artist started in 2013 with the foundation of the new federal Garbage Patch State, the second largest state in the world thanks to its 16-million-km² area, and composed of the five main plastic “islands” present in the oceans.

Co-promoted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and with the support of the Bracco
Foundation, Maria Cristina Finucci created the installation “HELP the Ocean” in one of the most symbolic and sacred locations of Ancient Rome, and one of the most visited sites on Earth.

The work is an ensemble of large metal wire cages, provided by the Maccaferri Group, and
embroidered with 6 million coloured plastic caps to simulate an archaeological finding which could, one day, become emblematic of our time, renamed “the plastic era.”

This enigmatic structure evokes the architectural syntax of Ancient Rome, but using plastic instead of stone. Only from above, however, can one see that this peculiar construction forms the four letters of the word HELP, as if to convey the call of our entire historical time, finally aware of being on the way to self-destruction.

By night, the monumental inscription, as if made of huge lanterns, is illuminated – thanks to ENEL X – and can be seen also from via dei Fori Imperiali.

Maria Cristina Finucci calls HELP “a call for help that is not limited to the environmental question, however essential: it also focuses on the individual and on all the life forms of a planet whose environment is inextricably linked to natural resources, health, nutrition, poverty, inequalities, human rights and peace.”

Finucci says installation confirms the urgent and inescapable need to work together to achieve the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which the Garbage Patch State officially signed on in April 2017.

With the creation of the Garbage Patch State in 2013, using the transversal language of art, Maria Cristina Finucci gave a concrete image to the environmental disaster caused by the plastic and microplastic waste adrift in the oceans and which, reduced to microscopic dimension, is de facto invisible and therefore difficult to communicate.

“HELP the Ocean” is supported by the Bracco Foundation, Gruppo Maccaferri, Enel, Roma Tre University, IED, Caritas Roma, and AMUSE.

Take the pledge to refuse single-use plastic.

Join our global Coalition.

4 responses to “Rome Makes an Appeal to the World with Installation ‘HELP the Ocean’”

  1. 500 million straws discarded each day in the US alone? Or put another way, approximately 1.5 straws per US citizen per day? I share your shock. I don’t want to change the narrative but also ponder this. I just weighed an empty 1 litre single use plastic bottle used for shower gels and shampoos. It weighed ~ 150g. A typical single use plastic straw weighs ~0.3 grams

    Doing the math…

    – 1 empty shower gel bottle equals the plastic in approximately 500 straws.

    – If you use one of these bottles per year then that’s like discarding 1.3 straws per day. If you use 2 bottles of shower gel per year then that’s 2.6 straws per day, etc….

    – Shower Gels are 20 times more damaging to the environment just to produce than bar soap.

    – What’s more it’s mostly water so you are using fossil fuels to transport mostly heavy water from factory to shower.

    – You use 6 times more than bar soap on average.

    – Shower gels and shampoos are most likely a petrochemical detergent with the acronym SLS or SLES.

    – Shower gels are rapidly becoming more popular than bar soap.

    You have an easy choice in the store, shower gels (or shampoo) or bar soap. They both do the same thing. Did you know there’s even solid shampoo bars.

    Great start, but is this enough? Multinational chemical companies that produce “soap” have given the world micro-beads, triclosan/triclocarban, shower gels and shampoos. In 2016 alone, the FDA which only bans things is they are dangerous or ineffective, banned 19 chemicals used in “soaps”. It’s a bit of a whack-a-mole game, ban something and the chemical companies turn around and put something worse in the next day that the world won’t know about for a decade. In my opinion the ONLY long term solution is to wrest control of “soap” production from profit driven multi-national chemical corporations and give to YOU. I have a device that can do just that and it’s called La Press ( ) . Using La Press you can create a custom organic bar of soap at home in 2 minutes without using any chemicals, heat or electricity for less than $1CDN/100g. Safe for use by young and old alike regardless of ability. How will this save the world? Because individuals like YOU are motivated by conscience and wellness and you will KNOW what YOU are putting in YOUR own soaps and therefore releasing down the drain into YOUR world. I firmly believe that YOU care about YOUR wellness, environment and world more than some multinational chemical company someplace somewhere because the boardrooms that decided on micro-beads instead of ground walnut shells certainly does not care.

  2. says:

    Thanks for your comment, Andy. Plastic straws are a "gateway issue" that starts the conversation about plastic pollution. Package-free soap is another part of the solution! Please have La Press Soap join our Coalition if you haven’t already. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Stop Plastic Pollution