Continuous Bodies (2010)

'Continuous Bodies' is an interdisciplinary project in which I try to merge the design discipline with the biological sciences.

CONTINUOUS BODIES Physical decay and physical death are natural processes, without which there could be no new life. On the contrary, traditional existentialism focuses on how people make sense of life in the shadow of death. In order to try and change this attitude this project places its focus towards a better understanding of the realm of fungi and at their fundamental importance in the environment with regard to decomposition and transformation of both organic and inorganic substrates and the resultant cycling of elements. How could we make use of fungi’s activity and knowledge as a guidance for better understanding the cyclicity of every existing thing? Throughout the process the designer comes to act as an interdisciplinary translator, facilitating communication between different fields of action, particularly between biologic science and design. ...

Full Description

'Continuous Bodies' is an interdisciplinary project in which I try to merge the design discipline with the biological sciences.

CONTINUOUS BODIES Physical decay and physical death are natural processes, without which there could be no new life. On the contrary, traditional existentialism focuses on how people make sense of life in the shadow of death. In order to try and change this attitude this project places its focus towards a better understanding of the realm of fungi and at their fundamental importance in the environment with regard to decomposition and transformation of both organic and inorganic substrates and the resultant cycling of elements. How could we make use of fungi’s activity and knowledge as a guidance for better understanding the cyclicity of every existing thing? Throughout the process the designer comes to act as an interdisciplinary translator, facilitating communication between different fields of action, particularly between biologic science and design. The direct collaboration with mycologists becomes the base to explore the potential of recent scientific discoveries related to fungi’s abilities, and open up to a general audience the content of subjects otherwise out of reach. This process lead to the creation of two different projects - one organic, one inorganic - through which fungal organisms are implemented, envisioning alternative possibilities, while questioning different attitudes related to modern human culture and “development”. Within this context the aim of this whole project is to try to inspire and stimulate a reflection leading to a re-qualification of the general perception towards the fungal kingdom and to the acceptance of the necessity of a true re-connection with the natural world, for a reciprocal symbiotic exchange of benefits.

Part 1 - Bodies of Change - the dynamic lifecycle of fungi as a remedy for denial If we are no longer dressing for life, what are we dressing for?

In this part the attention is mainly placed on the human body and on the possibility of employing fungi in performing the role of main “disassemblers” within a new burial practice. The aim is to explore and demystify denial and anxiety, related to the acceptance of the loss of a loved somebody, by transporting the process of decomposition of human remains to a more natural level, through an ecological connection with our changing environment. The final design outcome, in relation to this first part, consists of 3 different projects (see website: http://www.mauriziomontalti.com/officina_corpuscoli/bodies_of_change_menu.html)

Part 2 - The Ephemeral Icon - infusing life to trigger a process of final dissolution Why should not a chair, completely made out of synthetic, inhert, immortal material, dress up for death?

As a direct continuation, this second part looks at the study and the application of a fungus (Phanerochaete Chrysosporium) to synthetic materials that do not naturally decompose and that are found to provoke unhealthy, risky consequences for both the human being and for the entire ecosystem. Recent research demonstrates the ability of this model fungus in decomposing phenolic resins and more generally in degrading plastics. Merging this finding with a vision allows to create a social narrative to help us questioning our “throw away” culture, while exploiting, in a beneficial way, the resources that this social behaviour created. The final design outcome, in relation to this second part, consists of 2 different projects (see website: http://www.mauriziomontalti.com/officina_corpuscoli/the_ephemeral_icon_menu.html)

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