Too pretty to discard
In our globalised world, preoccupied with recycling, we often fail to look around and appreciate the beauty of things. We have lost sight of how things are made, assembled, disassembled and discarded. We don’t see the beauty in the already existing objects that we see as waste. It seems all things can and should eventually be shredded and made into pellets or flakes. Leaving no trace of what it once was.
Elian worked together with a fish cooperative because harbours have their very own ‘beautiful waste stream’, fishnets to be more precise. Nets with intriguing colours and beautiful patterns with distinctive characteristics. While fishermen repair and reuse their nets, at a certain point they are discarded. They get shipped to Lithuania for deconstructing and a small percentage is transported to Slovenia to make plastic threads or flakes for recycling. These fishnets are collected in a big container, used ones that have been in the ocean but also pieces that are unused because they are waste that occurs during the production of fishnets. Some pieces are too small to make a new big fishnet so they are as well seen as waste, even though they are unused. While these net parts look like new, the nets that are taken from the ocean tell the story of where it has been.
These discarded nets might not be suited as functioning nets anymore, but their distinctive material qualities and beauty, as their knotted and woven structure, hold the potential for a product line based on flexibility and rigidity. With this project, Elian looks for possibilities within the things themselves, rather than shredding them beyond recognition and losing all their unique qualities.
These fishnets are made of plastic (HDPE) which offers the possibility to melt them down. When done under the right circumstances, just below melting temperature, it releases less toxic gasses. Elian created a workbench with several elements to press an almost perfect shape into these flexible nets. By pressing and applying heat the tool deforms the plastic nets. Once cooled down, it leaves rigid pieces in the flexible nets. The melting tool can be used to press different shapes into the nets using different attachments. It almost becomes a stamp that you press into the nets, like a seal on a letter.
Knowing the combination between the flexibility of the net and the created solid elements, it becomes a designers playing field. New objects can be created through the constructive rigid parts and the flexibility could function as comfort, fitting, stretchability and many more. A new production method for fishnet-based objects is born. This product line shows the variety of techniques you can apply and how this new production method translates to everyday objects.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
C.I.V. den oever