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Biodegradable 232 Bioplastic 78 Circular 217 Plant-based 168 Recyclable 119 Vegan 88 Bioplastic 8


Photos: Laura Messing

Ivory Towers

The Series 'Ivory Towers’, (2019), is ascribed to Laura's recent research framed in the context of the relationship of humans with nature. In this sculptural production, the natural environment is the central protagonist, in the development of historical and contemporary narratives where current social and political concerns related to environmental justice, climate change and sustainability are addressed.

Faced with the obvious destruction of Nature, new forms of resistance appear in which humans and non-humans are involved. The land we inhabit is no longer just an asset to be preserved, but a setting to learn and deploy a new bonding intelligence.

As long as people continue to see Nature as that other place in the world that is outside the cities and ourselves, we will not be able to understand what is happening with the devastation of our natural forests, the floods that give us back the water that the soils monocultures can no longer absorb, drought and the new deserts, human, animal and plant genetic mutations, among other contemporary issues.

The artist considers that art, as never before, has a decisive role in this awareness and a leading role in this epistemological turn. She also thinks that art can generate sensitive correlates and expand our human limits in the capacity to feel, love and challenge ourselves.

'Ivory Towers' investigates the mythologies of exoticism during the centuries of exploration of America and Asia, fragments of history when the scope of collecting is expanded to all kinds of admirable, rare and valuable objects in a context of geographical usurpation, but also a reflection on the natural environment from a romantic and humanistic perspective.

In the seventeenth century, strange pieces in the form of turned ivory goblets arrived from Coburg at the hands of the Medici in Florence - as part of war booty. At first glance, the pieces captivated with their beauty, but immediately behind their magnetism the bloody annihilation of elephants, necessary to build these works, appears only to the delight of the Duke and some courtiers.

‘Ivory Towers’ is dedicated to the memory of a very brief time in the history of mankind, but as an example of human behaviour with respect to nature over the centuries.

These pieces inspired by those Turris Eburnea which translates to Ivory Tower, were made by hand with threads of polylactic acid (PLA), a totally biodegradable material, extracted from the fermentation of sugar cane and sugar beet.

Additional information

Laura took the Turris Eburnea from the 17th century as a trigger, due to the symbolic content of the original material. She sketched several variants and divided them into modules that could be used as moulds. Some objects are of habitual domestic use, such as bottles, glasses and cups; in other cases, she used a cardboard mould on purpose to use as a backup for the desired shapes. She designed a tool specially made for her to be able to extrude the filament by hand, in many cases, for several hours and finally, she glued the different modules together with the same PLA filament.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.



Physical samples

Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab