Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Jute returning with a vengance

I must have been subconsciously avoiding writing about our project on designing an exhibition based on the Jute Industry, but surprisingly to me I am increasingly inclined to write about how intriging some of the research I found is. Jute, being a ecological fibre played a huge role in the life of the people of Dundee, amongst other places such as India, Bangladesh etc,  even though Jute was not grown in Scotland. Through research much was interesting but what I found the most important was that of jute as a sustainable material.


The most astonishing fact I came across is that jute consumes several amounts of CO2 as Oxygen! Why do we not know this?! Maybe it is just Tesco’s keeping this a secret while they mass produce millions of Jute carrier bags to become ahead of the ‘green’ market. Even on the Santa Claus on the new Tesco advert is carrying a Jute Sack! I wonder if in ten years time when our children see the ‘old school’ adverts (just like us with those familiar Coca-Cola Christmas adverts that we will never forget), will they think this Jute bag was what Santa has carried for years?! Let’s hope this material isn’t as secretive as what it is to us, (unless you have designed an exhibition on it or lived in Dundee in the jute, jam and journalism days!).


This did influence us so much for our exhibition design that we created a sustainable and ecofriendly one that can be placed straight into the environment after the exhibition is over so it can live on forever secretly, better way to leave a mark to remember than a photograph. In brief – based on the Snake by Richard Serra, we created grass panelled walls, creating a atmospheric journey through the space evoking emotions reflecting the social conditions the people involved in the Jute Industy in Dundee had to live with. We experimented by cutting shapes into grass, staining grass and researched finding out it is possible to develop photographs directly onto grass, subjecting different parts to different amounts of light therefore allowing various levels of photosynthesis to occur thus creating a picture perfect photograph.

Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harveys advertisement installation at Wimbeldon 2008.

Cuttings we made in grass.

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