Material Ecology in the Symbiocene

Material Ecology in the Symbiocene presents a vision for a regenerative future where materials and objects are engineered by, for, and with nature. Derived from the sea and the earth, these materials and the ecologies they inhabit surpass man-made design through their sustainability, circularity, and adaptability. Blurring the boundaries of making and growing, audiences are invited to interrogate hierarchies between human and non-human species, culture and nature, and linear and circular economies. The installation considers ethics of care and responsibility at the ecosystem level, proposing a future where humanity and nature can collaborate and co-exist in harmony.

Material Ecology in the Symbiocene portrays a coming-together of organisms, giving form to one another through friction, growth, and decay. The final objects were constructed from mycelium, seaweed, and bioplastic.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus consisting of thread-like filaments called hyphae. It can be grown to any desired form, transforming agricultural waste products into high performance, sustainable objects. Mycelium is essential to the health of ecosystems, aiding in the decomposition and regeneration process.

Seaweed is among the fastest-growing organism on the earth and a storer of CO2 emissions. It acts as a biofilter, capturing and processing chemical runoff and excess nutrients to mitigate pollution and increase climate change resilience. The cupboard is fitted with a curtain embellished with naturally-dyed bioplastic sequins. Bioplastic is a natural plastic derived from agar, a polysaccharide extracted from red algae. The material could serve a crucial role in building a regenerative future, curving our dependency on petroleum-based plastics.

Eventually, these materials will return to the soil to support ecosystem health and new growth.

 

 

Wooden workstation, mycelium, seaweed, wood, bioplastic, lichen, glass jars, glass bottles, magnifying glass, and other materials, 120 x 92 x 190 cm, 2022