= alive matter produces its own form
With the current pandemic and the challenge to fight climate change, I believe we should not only look for alternative materials that fit our current consumption pattern. Instead, I see value in bringing mental consciousness through experiencing the unexpected. Breaking our daily routine, letting us slow down and weigh in whether our perspective towards other living organisms should be altered. Nowadays, most people regard a tree as an object placed to decorate our city landscape instead of providing us with oxygen.
The work is grown with living bacteria called "Acetobacter bacteria". These bacteria are able with the help of oxygen to transform ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid (vinegar) substances. Throughout a process of three weeks I nurture the bacteria with the right environment to produce its fungi sheet called “cellulose-based biofilm”.
The carpet represents a sacred ground that isolates people from earthly life, in a moment of recollection, prayer, and meditation. The work is a public statement for the need of consciousness around the interdependence between organisms and human beings to survive on this planet. Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin (Germany) is a former airport turned into a park. Due to its highly political history, I find it the perfect place to give perspective on how the time we live in can influence our behavior. During the pandemic the park has been a refuge for myself and many locals to be outside and sense a horizon whilst mostly being stuck in our apartments. A place to freshen up the mind and reconnect with nature. Posing us the question whether this park, hugely constructed and shaped by human kind is really nature?
Timothy Morton -
“It isn’t hard to love nature in it’s awe inspiring beautiful landscapes. It is far harder to love the disturbing, disgusting beings who do not wear a human face”.
To build onto the existing knowledge, I wanted to design an artistic expression that invites the public to use their senses to reconnect with living organisms. The SCOBY fungi is a natural weaver as it protects the brew from invaders by growing a floating sheet. It has a lot in common with the traditional rug. Which was made to represent a window of time based upon its current society. As a designer I see a behavioral adoption issue for us humans to include living materials in our lifestyle. We are not accustomed anymore to interacting with living materials. This is partly by the fact that chemical-based solutions are widely integrated into our lifestyle. Working with this material made me humble in its ingenious capabilities. Leaving me with the question how I can best introduce the possibilities of living materials to a larger audience who hardly interacts with living organisms.
Whilst working with this bio-based material I was surprised by the unique abilities linked to these living organisms. The fungi sheet floating in the brew consists of a large amount of probiotics. Giving it interesting abilities to be used in cosmetics, wound healing and skin disease treatment. Several designers have been working on “brewing” fashion items through the technique of fermentation (process mentioned above). When the fungi is dried a leather-like material is formed, which is an interesting opportunity for the vegan leather industry.
"Weaving is the relation between the visual and action whereby it behaves on several levels, not only depicting an act that has occured, it also institutes other acts to unfold."
The rug throughout history has been a medium that is used to communicate political statements. Mine is based on the trust that humankind knows in its subconscious that we are all part of one interconnected eco-system, and that we should learn instead of dominate non-human organisms. Based on the archetypes in the human subconscious by psychotherapist Carl Jung. Squaring the circle is symbolic of the integration of our personal subconscious into consciousness. The perfect wholeness of the circle is brought into the visible concreteness of the square shaped rug. Symbolizing the need for us to become conscious and start acting accordingly.
The rug is made with the kind donations from Kombucha home-brewers in Berlin. Making the efforts tangible as all of these individuals have sacrificed donating oxygen to the organism and in return living in an acidic environment. These beneficial interactions with non-human species I believe is part of our future.
More info follows soon
Reinitiate a connection between the human and living natural material through the sense of touch.
15L of fungi, a byproduct from the Kombucha drink
Patience and love