Identify and Research a Single Material or Future Resource
For this project all students had to choose a naturally occurring material that could be (easily) experimented with. I picked butterfly's scales, since I have had an interest in structural colour amongst the other properties that this intriguing material has developed through years and years of evolution.
Unfortunately, we were asked to switch material, with the aim that we would be pushed out of our comfort zone. I got the material ‘wax’ to work with. In the end, probably because I really like bugs I stumbled upon all kinds of wax-excreting bugs.
I thought it would be an interesting idea to think about how this in combination with genetic modification could play a role in our future. However, when trying to look into how far research is with sequencing DNA and especially when it became clear that I could not bring ‘some bug wax to get sequenced’ anywhere. Unsatisfied with my wax-umbrella future speculation I tried to find another route.
The second thing that caught my interest where larvae of the wax-moth. The wax moth is infamous amongst beekeepers for laying their larvae in the honeycomb, when hatched they eat the beeswax and honey, destroying the beehive. In 2017 a paper was published by a scientist/ amateur beekeeper in Current Biology (Volume 27, Issue 8, Pages R292-R293) about the wax-larvae being able to eat through PE. An accidental discovery when the caterpillars turned out to have no problem eating through the plastic bag he trapped them in after removing them from his beehive. The fact that they are able to, probably, chemically dissolve plastic is an incredible lesson we could adapt in bigger scale to get rid of our plastic problem.
Although I consider the outcome of this project a complete failure. I learned a lot about how goal focussed I tend work, which is can be a hindrance to taking risk in order to explore the unknown.
"We really want to see you get lost in the design process and researching through making...We want to see more of Brigitte — both in the aesthetics but also in the content of the project. What are your motivations? What do you want to say through the project?" Marta Giralt
"You've given us a complete and well articulated self-analysis. You're very aware of your abilities and skills, and the areas that you need to address moving forward. You're a strong hands-on researcher, but we'd like you to bring your experimentation to the next level. Whilst you have strong technical skills and have developed extensive experimentation your samples and making still feel scruffy and not to a high standard." Kieren Jones
Project: Future Remains
Coaches: Kieren Jones, Marta Giralt Dunjo and Attua Aparicio
External Experts: Chris Raper of Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodeversity and prof. John McGeehan from University of Porthsmouth
Client: Central Saint Martins
Duration: ~175 hours, 7 weeks