Plastic Capitalism examines the interplay between the aesthetics of contemporary art, global systems of energy-use, and the ways waste is defined through its exchange, recovery and excess. Through the lens of contemporary art, I situate waste at the point of contact between ecology and the ideologies of energy management that drive the global economy. The book addresses waste as a topological agent that is gauged at the sites where it transforms social relations, subjectivities, the senses and the cultural imaginary. I link the visuality of contemporary waste to the rise of the global oil economy and the emergence of ecological thinking. I propose that the oil economy is accompanied by a visual regime that expresses a highly contradictory form of energy management characterized by an imperative to conserve and redistribute energy, on the one hand, and on the other, an economic dictum to expand oil consumption.