"Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada" is an interactive multi-sensory installation composed of hand-woven biotextile pieces. Representing Chile at the London Design Biennale 2023, the project aimed to explore innovative uses of tree cellulose as a biomedium while reflecting on its production's extractive processes and economic considerations.
The central biotextile, partially submerged in water, underwent gradual biodegradation, symbolizing the transformation of matter and highlighting its origin as a central element in textile research. Visitors were encouraged to witness this ongoing degradation, revealing a concealed text, and to interact with tactile sensors, uncovering hidden sounds of birds, looms, and the forest.
The installation sought to connect biomaterial innovation and traditional techniques, emphasizing the importance of slow, embodied-making processes. Hand-weaving was the chosen technique due to its significance in Latin American material culture, serving as an identity marker, a means of communication, and a medium for knowledge transfer.
The biotextile pieces were meticulously crafted using cotton, natural dyes (grapes, madder, and carmine), conductive yarns, and carboxymethyl cellulose, a by-product of the forest industry. This versatile biomaterial, employed in a laminar format, exhibits transparency and flexibility, making it ideal for handmade textile creations. After fabricating the cellulose films, they were cut and woven to create multilayer textiles using a hand-operated Jacquard loom and a CAD wood loom.
Throughout the month-long exhibition, the pieces transformed and degraded with the touch of visitors, exposure to natural light, and contact with water, showcasing these interactive textiles' transient and cyclical nature.
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