Alchemy souvenir

//Lapland University link//

Materials: polylactide biodegradable and bioactive (PLA), gold leaf and felt.  //info exhibition//

Iceberg: from the Dutch word ijsberg, literally meaning ice mountain. Icebergs are possible on Earth because of an unusual property of water: It is less dense in its solid state than its liquid state. Oceans on some other planets consisting of other types of liquids, such as methane, cannot have icebergs, precisely because the frozen substance would sink.
Matrioshkas: a symbol of fertility, originals from Japan arrived in Russia in 1890, and were shown at the Universal Exhibition of Paris (1900), becoming popular as a typical souvenir.

Design as an artistic discipline has suffered different positions throughout history... Currently, design can be understood as ethical practice (Latour, 2005). A responsible attitude that struggles to find the balance between human needs and the bio-limits of our world. Enriching knowledge from new perspectives and understanding the unity of the nature-culture binomial is one of the main challenges of the designers as transdisciplinary integrators and facilitators (Wahl & Baxter, 2008).
Robert Kohls (in Survival Kit for Overseas Living) first suggested the “iceberg” as a metaphor for culture in 1979.
The designer works with 89% of the submerged iceberg?
Taking the notion of alchemy as a symbolic operation (Schwarz 1973: 81-89), we can interpret the designer as an alchemist who has the mission of making visible issues that are ignored or blocked by the system. Their capacity for social intervention in relation to ethical social responsibilities, environmental sustainability and the emergence of so-called creative communities (Papanek, 1985, Manzini, 2016) are central pillars of design research. In artistic key, in the speculative production and/or from the angle of semionaut (Bourriaud, 2002), the following artwork is a metaphorical story that aims to reflect on the relationship between human values and the policies of capitalism. The iceberg is part of a life cycle and an indicator of the health of our planet, it reminds us that it comes from a glacier ... A mountain of ice that goes to the dérive, on the way to its disappearance. Ice is one of the real "golds" of our times. While liberal logics increase the production curve without a ceiling that stops them (untenable), the curves of nature tend to stabilize. Art, in its role of producing ideas, in combination with design has to "make visible" or awaken the critical sense.
Alchemy souvenir: With this alchemic sequence of dolls-iceberg, from iceberg to gold, we put in value the binomial transformation/degradation. The game/play is next: Maybe when we have the gold we will stop having the ice. Do not open it.
If I have ever practiced alchemy, it was in the only way it can be done now, that is to say, without knowing it. (Lebel, 1957: 98)
Marcel Duchamp


Bourriaud, N. (2002), Relational Aesthetics, Dijon: les presses du réel.
Latour, B. (2005): Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lebel, R. (1957), L’Art magique, ed. Andre Breton and Gerard Legrand, Paris: Club Francais de l'Art.
Manzini, E. (2016), Design as everyday life polítics. Retrieved July 7, 2018, from
Papanek, V. (1985), Design for the real world (Second Ed.). New York: Thames and Hudson.
Schwarz, A. (1973), “The Alchemist Stripped Bare in the Bachelor, Even," in Anne d'Harnoncourt and Kynaston McShine (eds.), Marcel Duchamp, MoMA, New York.
Wahl, D.C. and Baxter, S., (2008), “Designers as transdisciplinary integrators and facilitators of sustainable solutions”. Design Issues, 24(2), pp. 72–76
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