As mentioned in the previous post, the students of the MA "Material Futures" at Central St.Martins are equal part scientists and engineers as they are artists. All of those disciplines require creativity to solve problems so they go hand in hand instinctively. Here are two separate projects both challenging the sustainability of fabrication.
The top two photos "This is Grown" are work by Jen Keane who has invented a textile hybrid membrane from growing bacteria. The finer details are waiting for a Patent so she doesn't have the whole process on show but here you can see petri dishes and a final sneaker made from the fabric. She has invented a loom to lay down the warp for the bacteria to then follow and weave in the weft. This cellulose composit can not only be used for product design but also in bio-medical practise for surgery in the body. Jen's background is from working at Adidas so its incredible that she has come up with this idea and found further applications for its use.
The bottom two images "Foreign Garbage" are a project by Katie-May Boyd as a commentary on the current ecology issue of how the UK and USA deal with waste polystyrene. Apparently we have historically sold it to China for recycling but this has just come to an end so we have a massive land-fill time-bomb ticking. Katie told me that Polystyrene is mostly air so even treating the substance to remove this breaks it down considerably. She has experimented with acetone and come up with a way to totally recycle the substance to make a new plastic material for manufacture. Just for this concept she has moulded it into Chinese good luck cats as a statement on the trade plans taking place.
I've only summed up the surface key points of these two extensive research projects to break it down for the blog. Its so impressive that these students are coming up with real solutions to the world's ecology. For anyone under the impression that art school is about naval-gazing, they need to look beyond their own preconceived misconceptions and give credit to this honourable work.
So with that in mind, its brilliant that the Mullen Lowe Group NOVA awards are set up to credit these exceptional students for their ingenuity. The title "NOVA" coming from INNOVATION. Both Jen and Katie have been nominated and made it onto the final shortlist of 14 students from the 1,300 graduating students! Check back here over the next few days for more work and how you can vote for your favourite to win in the NOVA awards.
See Show TWO at 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA on now til Sunday 24th.