Material

Maqui tree

By

Made in

Bacteria 25 Biodegradable 245 Circular 228 Pigment 50 Textile 97 Vegan 95 Sugar 5

Maqui tree
Maqui tree
Maqui tree
Maqui tree
Maqui tree
Maqui tree

Photos: Denis Prévôt , LABVA, Ramón Vasquéz, Fernan Federici

LABVA's native biomaterial palette

Laboratorio de Biomateriales de Valdivia (LABVA) recognises the potential of our territory associating ethnobotanical ancestral knowledge to bio-fabrication processes.

The aristotelia chilensis (Maqui) tree is native to Chile and it is also extremely abundant as it is a pioneer species, this means that it's the first to colonise degraded soils, setting the perfect conditions for other native plants to grow. It is also a food source for birds that depend on this tree to survive their migratory routes. The Maqui also plays a key role in the Mapuche tradition and cosmovision; it is used as food, medicine and natural dyes. Creating a material 100% derived from this tree microbiota is both a discovery and also valorisation of all the scales involved in its creation.

This native biomaterial materialises the collaboration in its ecosystem by colonising and feeding other beings, the collaboration between communities through openly sharing their ancestral knowledge of its conscious and sustainable collection, and the collaboration of its symbiotic microbiota, since it's the bacteria and yeast present in its leaves and fruits that do this microscopic weaving. Each scale works in tight collaboration, setting an example of how materials should promote values in order to change our material culture.

LABVA ensures that it grows, feeding this culture and creating the perfect environment for it to thrive. This results in a biomaterial that is deeply rooted in its territory; a biomaterial that is conceived, makes sense and can only be grown in the south of Chile.

They seek to create a heterogeneous, diverse and local biomaterial palette to promote sovereignty and territorial autonomy. Promoting values through the creation of emotionally binding materials in order to change our throwaway culture. A new material culture.

Making process

Wild fermentation of leaves and fruits of aristotelia chilensis tree. The process can take up to 3 months to create the first culture.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.

Ingredients

Aristotelia chilensis leaves and fruits, sugar, water

Credits

Claudia Manquepillan and Jaime Rodriguez for sharing their ancestral knowledge.