Potato, Po-ta-to: Reconstructing Metabolism

Experiments and a sculpture with potato goo and different decomposing materials.

Presented at Väre, Aalto University, in Otaniemi 2019.

‘’Life is a connected phenomenon through space. There’s no independent organism cause every organism requires food to be delivered and waste to be removed. So that it’s a system on the surface of the earth.’’ - Lynn Marqulis, biologist and evolutionary theorist.

Potato, po-ta-to: Reconstructing Metabolism was a process during a symbiosis themed experimental design course, with which I addressed the distance that has grown between the subject and the task as well as the action and its unwanted or unacknowledged consequences. How we have come to build and maintain our lives in an unsustainable manner, as anthropocentric social animals and how we have learned through different sets of reciprocal projections to separate the I or us in order to reduce ’’the other’’ into a mere resource, to justify its exploitation as survival of the fittest or as something ”less than human”.

My aim was to reduce and remove waste by exploring the topic of domination as a possible form of parasitism and through hands-on working with decomposing materials, instead of interfering the metabolism by thriving for permanence.
With the material focus on glue made out of potato starch, the edible tuber of a plant; a fruit of labor that my human hands first forced into a somewhat forgotten tool and after that used as beetroot dyed goo; to portray the collective shadow that we cast while intending to create light in our increased appetite for growth and advantages to fulfill our basic needs. The needs that like almost all else it seems, have become distorted and turned into commodities in this complex system built for and by us.

© 2021 Frida Stenbäck