May 29, 2023 #ChileDiverse #ChileGlobal #ChileSustainable

Chile's proposal for the London Design Biennial 2023: sensorial and sustainable

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Sofia Guridi, Image credit: Vertti Virajoki

Chile arrives as the winner of the gold medal in the previous version of the London Design Biennial, whose fourth version will be held from June 1 of the London Design Biennial, whose fourth version will be held from June 1 at the central Somerset House. From our country, the installation "Borrowed Matter/ Materia prestada" was created by Sofía Guridi, designer and researcher, together with the cultural manager and curator Juan Pablo Vergara.

This year, one of the most important biennials in the world, convenes design under the theme "The Global Game: Remapping Collaboration" or "The Global Game. Remapping Collaboration". The idea is that the pavilions and installations participating this year propose new forms of collaboration between disciplines, visions and materials to address our current reality: that countries and regions that shape and visualize new forms of international cooperation and participation in joint activities and events .

As a result of this call and theme, the idea of the Chilean pavilion was born, entitled "Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada" (Borrowed Matter), which expresses collaboration through materiality, connecting Chile, where cellulose is manufactured; Finland, the country where biomaterial research is carried out; and London, the city where the pieces will be exhibited.

From Chile, its creators Sofía Guridi, designer specialized in intelligent textiles and researcher at the Bioinnovation Center of Aalto University in Finland, together with cultural manager and curator Juan Pablo Vergara, were selected by the jury of the London Design Biennial to represent Chile.

"We are very happy to be in this new version of the Biennial, with a sensory, organic Chilean pavilion that invites us to surprise us with the transformation of its materiality but that, above all, shows us through design, research and creativity that it is possible to respond to a global environmental problem, with a second use for a material that until now has been considered waste," said Andrea Gutiérrez, Undersecretary of Culture and the Arts.

The Chilean exhibition consists of a living space where visitors will be able to interact with 7 looms or hand-woven textile pieces that combine natural fibers and dyes, a new biomaterial format. One of them, the central piece, will be partially submerged in water and will biodegrade as the days go by, alluding to the transformation of matter. They can not only be touched but also heard, since new sounds will be revealed through touch, thanks to touch sensors created with conductive threads. An exhibition that mixes touch, colors, textures, sounds and new experiences for visitors: an interactive multisensory installation.

"We are extremely proud to be part of London Design Biennale 2023 with the artistic proposal of the 'Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada' project, as it reflects our country's commitment to building a more sustainable and resilient society," said Chile' s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Susana Herrera .

This innovative installation consists of biotextile pieces manufactured using a biodegradable by-product of cellulose in combination with natural fibers. These loom-woven pieces propose new uses for a raw material that comes from wood. This year, the invitation is to reflect on the timber industry and its extractive practices, proposing new uses for cellulose. This pavilion explores the aesthetic and functional properties of cellulose, the most abundant biocompatible, biodegradable and renewable biopolymer in the world.

"Being present at the London Design Biennale 2023 is a great opportunity to make Chilean design visible internationally. This year's topic calls for rethinking international collaboration and the selected project is a reflection that a discipline is capable of generating discussion, innovating and promoting new proposals for sustainability," said Ignacio Fernández, general director of ProChile .

Sofía Guridi, who lives in Finland, is part of the Bioinnovation Center team at Aalto University Finland, and from there she designed the carboxymethylcellulose-based canvases, where she integrated this new biomaterial format with the traditional loom technique. These supports will make us think and debate, demonstrating "the capacity of design to contribute to thinking about materials from their potential and complexity, inspired by the transformation and degradation of matter," says Guridi. The loom was chosen because it is an identifying element of great importance for the local material culture.

Image credit: Diana Becares

In turn, Juan Pablo Vergara commented that "we want to envelop the public in a space of calm, where through textiles they can connect and feel the importance of slow and conscious design processes".

Carol Muñoz Oliva, director of the Division of Cultures, Arts, Heritage and Public Diplomacy (DIRAC) commented: "This is one of the most important international spaces for design. This time we will be part of an urgent reflection on the use of raw materials and textile techniques that will give life to Borrowed Matters/Materias Prestadas. DIRAC supports this initiative to rethink materiality, intervene and transform it to contribute to the development of more sustainable societies.

In the previous version of the London Design Biennial 2021, the jury awarded the Chile Pavilion "Tectonic Resonances" the gold medal for being the most outstanding contribution of the event, which considered 29 pavilions from different countries. In the framework of this new participation, Rossana Dresdner, executive director of Fundación Imagen de Chile, pointed out that "these international scenarios are an opportunity to show the world what we are, what we offer and how we are doing things. Cultural events are not only a showcase for the cultural area, but also to project our identity which, in the case of Chile, is deeply diverse".

"Chile today takes on the challenge of sustainability in a serious, transversal and forward-looking way, as we will show in this new version of the Design Biennial," added Dresdner.

Chile's presence in this Biennial is organized by the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage together with the Division of Cultures, Arts, Heritage and Public Diplomacy (DIRAC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ProChile. It also has the collaboration of the Embassy of Chile in the United Kingdom, the School of Design Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the Anglo Chilean Society and Aalto University Bioinnovation Center, from Finland.

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