How can one individual solve the issue of plastic pollution? Simple – they can’t. It is not up to one individual to do everything perfectly, but up to everyone working together, doing what we can, imperfectly. Micro- and mesoplastics are all around us, the smallest forms of plastic visible to the human eye, and the last step before plastic becomes microscopic and nearly impossible to remove from the environment. 

Starting in May, Microplastic Recycling Bins were placed in six strategic locations around Erie County. Weekly cleanups filled the boxes with micro- and mesoplastics, removing them from the cycle of harm and creating a colorful record of a community coming together. Reading Landscapes combines science and art using installation and interactivity to question how we can be better stewards of our environment. 

Nicole Chochrek is an interdisciplinary artist who received her Master of Fine Arts from the University at Buffalo in 2022 and her Bachelor’s in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of North Texas in 2015. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently CEPA’s Artist-in-Residence through Creatives Rebuild New York. 

One of Buffalo’s sources of pride is our ability to come together for our neighbors. Reading Landscapes does just that while simultaneously reminding us that our neighbors are not just the people next door but the fish, birds, and other wildlife that call Buffalo their home too.

Contributions to the boxes are encouraged for the duration of the show. 

Made possible by Creative Rebuild New York, a New York State Endowment for the Arts Initiative,  in an exciting partnership with the Buffalo Arts Commission, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Unity Island, The Foundry, Tifft Nature Preserve, Squeaky Wheel, Springville Center For-Arts, and more. For information on the project, other box locations, and dates visit:

The exhibition features an excerpt from Laura Kraning’s documentary LANDFORMS.

LANDFORMS (excerpt) – a film by Laura Kraning. Foraging future fossils with artist Nicole Chochrek on Unity Island in Buffalo, NY. An excerpt from an experimental documentary excavating the natural and artificial terrain of buried landscapes of Western New York – a filmic act of digging for evidence of lost histories and portents of future calamities.
This film has been made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Laura Kraning’s moving image work navigates liminal spaces at the intersection of nature and machine and have been described as a form of “esoteric archeology,” delving into an experience of the subconscious of a landscape. Her work has screened widely at international film festivals and venues, such as MoMA’s Doc Fortnight, the New York Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Visions du Réel, National Gallery of Art, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, REDCAT Theater, and Los Angeles Filmforum, among others. She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation John H. Johnson Film Award, Jury Awards at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Film House Award at the Athens International Film and Video Festival, the Jury Award for Short Film at the Rencontres Internationales Sciences et Cinémas, a 2019 NYSCA/Wave Farm Media Arts Grant, and a 2023 New York State Council for the Arts Support for Artists Grant. Laura currently resides in New York, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Study at University of Buffalo.

Exhibit Location

FOCUS Gallery

617 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Exhibit Dates

October 6, 2023- December 8, 2023


Free to the public

Exhibit Times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
By appointment
4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.