Project title: Salvage:

Recycling the Dead

Research Question:

Can exploration of the material potential of the body provoke debate around material value?


Project description:

Salvage is a critical project focusing on the resource potential of the human body after death.  Through collaboration I have explored the material possibilities and processes to extract the chemical components from cremated remains.

As a designer I am concerned with the way we are able to detach ourselves from the source of our resource. I am interested in exploring the potential material possibilities of the body and also the social implications for such responses.

What is the context for the project?

It is my belief that the only resource we can lay claim to is our body. Every other resource is taken without consent.  Through this project I explore the following questions:

–   As humankind become increasingly conscious of the value of resources, should we consider the material potential of our own bodies?

–   Could we allow ourselves to become dethatched from our loved ones so that their bodies could be seen as a resource?

–   Would our relationship to a resource change if we knew its components were recently human?

How did textiles inform your response?

Salvage explores a pragmatic approach to issues of material scarcity, exploring how cremated remains could be utilised to create woven textile products.

Suggested within the context of the table landscape these articles aim to visually communicate the material potential of one human’s cremated ash .

What inspired the project?

Taking the body back to the molecular level and reusing these elements for practical uses.  I hoped to question the relationship we have with our bodies and the relationship we have with our materials.

I feel it is important to question ourselves– even when those questions are difficult to answer.


What is your vision of Textile Futures?

I believe that for textiles to continue to develop we must be prepared to look at all of the possibilities; including those which are emotionally and socially challenging. Textiles that fully explore resource availability should be embraced.  Choices in both material and process should be underpinned with ‘sustainable’ intent. It is important that future designers engage with the intersections between emerging science and technology.

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