In 2008 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power decided to coat the surface of one of the city’s major reservoirs with hundreds of thousands of plastic balls, called shade balls, in order to address a public health concern. This essay addresses the unintentional aesthetics and unintentional consequences that were produced through this event, one that looked more like a large public art intervention than a measure of city planning. Plastic, the essay argues, is central to these new anthropocenic realities, and can be understood as a materialization of the fantasy of containment.