Exhibition Soil Matters explores the human-soil-relationship and the materiality of soil. The exhibition was chosen from over 50 submissions in the Design Club Open Call by Design Museum Helsinki. The international call for exhibitions ended on January and drew entries from 15 countries, including Finland, Holland, German and Italy.
The theme of this year´s Open Call was material and materiality. The chosen exhibition explores the materiality of soil and how it is entwined with human activity. Soil Matters highlights how, among other factors, the glass and porcelain industries, and new technologies have left their mark in the soil. The design industry itself also steers consumer habits and contributes to the contamination and transformation of the earth.
Soil Matters will feature several experimental design projects by domestic and international designers, artisans and artists. The core working group of the exhibition is formed by artist and researcher Riikka Latva-Somppi and Maarit Mäkelä, ceramicist and associate professor at the Department of Design of Aalto University.
The exhibition team points out that the value of land and soil has traditionally been considered in terms of productivity. Materials extracted from the ground, minerals and heavy metals, are utilised in all consumer goods, from ceramics to digital products. With this exhibition, Latva-Somppi and Mäkelä want to introduce other perspectives alongside thinking that focuses only on utility.
“Soil is not a static material. Instead, it changes continuously as a result of human activity. Quarrying materials for industry and pollution, such as building waste, industrial pollutants and household waste materials, permanently alter the structure of the Earth’s crust” notes Latva-Somppi.
The Soil Matters exhibition opens at the Helsinki Design Week in September. Exhibition will be held in Design Museum’s Gallery from 4 September 2020 to 10 January 2021.
In association with the Finnish Environment Institute and the Saastamoinen Foundation.
Soil samples in the Aalto University’s Empirica research team’s project Traces from the Anthropocene: Working with Soil. Photo: Tzuyu Chen
Text: Minni Soverila