The oil tanker Erika, owned by the French company TotalFinaElf, sank off the coast of Brittany on December 12, 1999. 20,000 tonnes of crude oil escaped from the stricken tanker, causing a widespread environmental disaster.
Robert Gschwantner, together with photographer Roberto Conz, traveled to Le Croisic on the French coast to collect oil sludge. Three hand-woven carpets made of transparent PVC tubing were filled with the oil sludge and refined Total Motor Oil.
PHOTOS: ROBERTO CONZ