In the past, humans interacted with materials directly, allowing materials to speak to them. In the present time, the machine acts as a barrier between humans and materials. Humans are simply shaping materials based on their own impression, disconnecting themselves from the material’s actualisation. Shell decay unlearns the cognitive impression that humans had for materials by turning back to nature, learning from nature's wonders to ultimately collaborate with nature, creating a world where humans and nature could co-exist.
As the industrial revolution continues to strive, machinery serves as a barrier to the relationship between humans and materials. Materials are being recognised as an impression of the maker as to how they should behave rather than the actualisation of the material. Thus drawing humans further away from the tacit understanding of the material, resulting in misuse and mistreating of materials. Shell decay aims to explore decay as a process of material exploration and innovation, challenging the dominant notions of material development. The use of materials almost always refers to manufacturing materials, which implies the use of ‘new’ and ‘desirable’ materials. When we think of materials conventionally, we often relate to terms such as ‘assembling’ and ‘constructing’. What if we look at materials from an ecocentric standpoint with the application of ‘cultivating’ and ‘growing’ of materials instead. Hence, ‘decay’ typically seen as an end-of-life material treatment would be brought to the earlier stages of processing materials, replacing the world of parts, with a circular economy. The project utilises Singapore’s climatic environment and the abundance of food shell waste as conditions to examine the behaviour and the process of decay. Striving to replace ready-made materials with the abundance of waste produced in Singapore, promoting the notion of optimising rather than maximising.
David Pye discusses that we talk as though ‘good materials’ were being found instead of being made, it is only good because workmanship has made it so. ‘‘Good materials’ weren't found, rather it was made into a ‘desirable material’ by someone who was able to see its potential. The same can be said for materials of waste, and it is up to our sensitivity to pick our resources and turn them into ‘desirable materials.’ Shell decay utilises two waste materials that are generated and discarded daily, eggshells and coffee grounds. Shell decay introduces the two materials that never met nor interact before and conduct a research to understand how nature works with these two organic material. Coffee grounds has primary nutrients properties needed for soil fertility while eggshells have secondary nutrients. When combining these two materials, mother nature would strive and promotes growth, while human could control the rate of growth by simply adjusting the amount of material in the mixture. Shell decay strives towards a future where human and nature could co-exist, circulating kitchen waste into nature's food.
Eggshell, Coffee ground, Sodium alginate, Glycerine, Vinegar, Water
Johnson Tan, Jodi Choo, Studio Silo