Tracing the Commons through Clay

De Casiopea
TítuloTracing the Commons through Clay
ProfesoresDaniela Salgado, Álvaro Mercado
DescripciónPresentación en Seminario "Commons in Design"
Rol de la EscuelaParticipante
Contraparte(s)FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel, SNSF Swiss National Science Fundation
Rol de la ContraparteResponsable
EventoCommons in Design
Palabras Clavecomunes, diseño, nuevo materialismo, experimentación, arquitectura, urbanismo

About the proyect: The project “Commons in Design” (2019–2023), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, deals with the concept of design in the context of digitalisation and the resulting change in the role of designers. Technological advances have enabled new paradigms of work organization (e.g. co-working), new professional communities and identities (e.g. maker culture) and empowered frameworks for co-creation, co-design, and the sharing of design knowledge and products. Current research directions focus on issues of sustainable products and services, design processes, and forms of collaboration. About the abstract: Traditionally in Chile, the use of natural resources in potters’ communities, such as clay, were freely obtained from shared or common areas by small groups of peasants that learned how to find, extract and process them. However, these areas have been privatised, exploited or reduced to economic concerns, which has led to the depletion of common lands and, consequently, of common resources. But despite these displacements of the commons and the fragility they represent, the resilience of several pottery communities —such as the pottery village of Pomaire— also contributes to shedding light on the potential of artisanal adaptability and resistance to sustain craft production even in the face of the land’s increased commodification. Faced with material displacement and conflict, these artisans have found ways to design new material distribution, negotiate material extraction, and articulate collective material and human interdependencies when facing territorial crises. This collective resilience that emerges from the pottery community of Pomaire, which is based on the comprehension of the territory, the material and the community enables us to think about the collective processes of design very distant from authorship or individually designed and manufactured pieces, and on the possibility for searching new commons through the materials. Therefore, echoing the design resilience found in craft-making communities and aligned with New Materialism’s ontologic and epistemic approach that embraces the idea of ‘turning to matter’ beyond binomials like nature and culture, this research explored collective and sensitive modes of interacting with matter, as the means for investigating and designing. In this vein, this paper presents speculative methods to research the replacement of the commons in the soil of the hinterland of Valparaíso, in Chile, by exploring interdependence between the makers and the soil's materials. To do so, artists, designers and architects engaged in immersive practices as active and poetic forms of reflecting and designing on the depletion of areas perceived as common lands and common resources. These practices consisted of collective territorial and material explorations, collaborative design, and pottery making in areas that remained virtually invisible but strongly impacted by the urban environment.