Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada is an interactive multi-sensory installation comprised of hand-woven biotextile pieces. The pavilion showcases innovative uses of cellulose as a biomedium, prompting reflection on the timber industry and its extractive practices. The central work, partially submerged in water, gradually biodegrades, portraying the transformation of matter and its origin as a core element of textile research. Visitors are invited to witness the ongoing degradation and interact with tactile sensors that reveal concealed sounds.
The project emerged from academic research on biotextiles and raises questions about cellulose’s origin and its production implications. In Chile, where the forestry industry covers 4% of the national territory, the monoculture of introduced species such as pine and eucalyptus has resulted in various socio-environmental issues, including increased fire rates, water scarcity, soil acidification, and declining biodiversity.
Against this backdrop, Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada considers the life cycle of cellulose by investigating its aesthetic and functional properties. Cellulose, as the primary focus of the Chilean forestry industry, is the most abundant biopolymer globally. It is biocompatible, biodegradable, and renewable, yet predominantly used for industrial paper and textile manufacturing.
Through a contemporary textile reinterpretation, the installation proposes a connection between biomaterial innovation and traditional techniques and emphasises slow, embodied making processes. Hand-weaving is the primarily chosen technique due to its significance in Latin American material culture, serving as an identity element, means of communication, and conduit for knowledge transfer. The biotextile pieces are crafted using natural fibres, dyes, and carboxymethyl cellulose, a by-product of the cellulose industry, moulded in a laminar format. Developed by designer and researcher Sofía Guridi, this versatile material exhibits translucency and flexibility, making it ideal for handmade textile creation.
Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada offers visitors a multisensorial immersive experience, enveloping them in a serene space that connects through touch, sight and sound. By interacting with textile sensors, the audience actively participates in the degradation of the artwork. Through highlighting deterioration processes, the project brings into focus themes of transformation in relation to eco-circularity. It further exemplifies innovative ways in which designers explore the properties and complexities of existing materials.
The pavilion aims to initiate a critical dialogue about the processes employed in the wood industry, focusing on the possibilities of handling its raw materials. By connecting traditional techniques, tactile narratives, and new digital technologies, the project demonstrates how collaboration between design and academia can add value to common, low-cost materials like cellulose.
Borrowed Matter/Materia Prestada is the result of a decentralised process of collaboration, production, and distribution, spanning three countries. Finland and Chile – sites of pulp production and Sofía Guridi’s research, and London – a space for exhibition and textile degradation. Through this international collaboration, the project strives to stimulate broader conversations and foster innovative approaches to material exploration and reuse.
Designer: Sofia Guridi
Curator: Juan Pablo Vergara
Graphic Design and animation: Gracia Fernández
Audio visualist: Víctor Leyton
Communications: Karla Riquelme
Production assistant: Diana Becares
Photography work: Vertti Virasjoki
Electronics: Agata Rudnicka – Aditya Radhakrishna
Field recording: Valentina Villarroel
Organic illustrations: Simón Jarpa
Typography drawing: André Ocares
About the Pavilion Team
Sofia Guridi (Santiago de Chile, b.1990)
Sofia Guiridi is a design researcher focused on the intersection of textiles, electronics and biomaterials for the creation of interactive surfaces. Linking traditional knowledge with material experimentation, her experience ranges from artistic installations to applied research in health and education in collaboration with different organisations in Latin America and Europe. Her research is motivated by the new possibilities of communication achieved through textile interfaces and their relationship with the human body. She is currently part of the Fashion/Textiles Futures research group and Bioinnovation Center at Aalto University Finland, where she is pursuing her PhD in sustainable smart textiles.
Juan Pablo Vergara (Santiago de Chile, b.1981)
Juan Pablo Vergara is a cultural manager and curator with 10 years of experience in the implementation of design and visual arts projects at a national and international level. His projects seek to be collaborative and transdisciplinary, focusing on the development of audiences and mediation. Since 2020, he has directed Revista Materia, a communication platform dedicated to environmental and experimental design that has been awarded with two funds from the Chilean Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage (FONDART). In 2021, he was the winner of the contest to represent Chile at the Venice Art Biennale, together with curator Camila Marambio. Vergara is currently Executive Director at Fundación Ruta and Programming Director at Ch.ACO – Contemporary Art Fair.