By Marin Sawa
The project was underlined with a vision of textiles as living surfaces which possess intelligence of life and connect the built environment with the natural world, in search for a smart and ecological textile design and practice.
At a more pragmatic level, it was an attempt to craft algae’s biological attributes such as photosynthesis and bioluminescence in response to our contemporary ‘environmental conscientiousness’. Through installations in urban conditions, the applications of Algaerium aimed at visualizing otherwise invisible natural phenomena to raise awareness in our co-existence with micro species, as well as to directly contribute to our ecosystem.
So, the very aim was to weave the life of microalgae as materials in a way that they act as the spine of design aesthetically and functionally. This led to re-contextualize them out of their natural habitats and embed as active cells in my design. I tried to re-apply their innate living properties such as respiration (photosynthesis), reproduction (photosynthetic pigments) and innate abilities found in some of the algae species such as phototaxis and bioluminescence.
As the project developed, I familiarized myself with algae cultivation and some basic biochemistry experiments which I learnt at labs with help from scientists, Dr. Tammy Kalber and Masamichi Tada, London. I then realized that what I was doing in a lab could be done simply at home in my kitchen as long as my work tools and surfaces are sterilized against any contamination by fungi and bacteria.