There is absolutely no doubt that we are in a moment of a big crisis. Carbon emissions are still rising, we’re facing a mass loss of biodiversity and the social gap is still increasing. Many have called this the crisis of the Anthropocene, our human activities have altered the earth's crust at a level that in many eons were still gonna be able to see the traces of our mass-produced plastics, concrete constructions, and nuclear weapons, for mention just a few.
This is a multifaceted emergency. As the anthropologist Arturo Escobar mentions in his last participation during the 2022 Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO) conference: “It is not necessary to repeat that we are facing a planetary crisis, it is a multifaceted crisis of climate, energy, biodiversity, inequality, poverty, and meanings”. He emphasizes the crisis of the meanings because he says: “it is not only an institutional crisis, or of an economic model, it is a crisis of an existential model, a societal model, a crisis of how we conceived the human and how we think life.” We hace completely sperate us from natural life cycles. The colonialized modern mind has divides us from the earth, we have denied the life on earth and created the meaning of artificial superiority of human beings over other species. But this crisis is also an opportunity, pushing us to question the modern thought and to propose other meanings of life, other ways of inhabit the earth.
In the creative fields of arts, architecture, and design there are many new projects emerging with these new visions, new ways of exploring our creative fields, and new processes and materials that understand the importance of symbotic collaboration between nature and humans. One of the most important and first lines of action in these fields is the material activism, the exploration of new materials that are circular. Some of them use natural components such as plants, mushrooms, algae, insects, natural resins, waste from food or agriculture, soils, and many other earth elements that can be used as sources to create new materials that are biodegradable and can be returned to earth as nutrients, we call these, biomaterials.
Here is a guide to create your first biomaterial, a potato starch bioplastic . First you will obtain the starch from the potatoes and then transform it into traslusent silicon-like bioplastic.
Potato starch bioplastic
Jar or test tube
Digital weighing scale
Potato starch extraction.
Peel potatoes and wash with water.
Put the potato into a blender or grater carefully.
Transfer it into a bowl and add 100 ml of water. Grind with a spoon for a few minutes.
The starch is separated from the cellulose by filtering the mixture with a sieve in another bowl or glass.
This filtered liquid is added to a test tube for better decantation. Let stand for 2 hours.
After this time, decant the excess water and wash again with 100 ml of water. Let stand for 2 hours.
Decant excess of water and you will get potato starch. *The starch is the white powder which settles at the bottom of the test tube.
100 ml (7 Tbsp) Water
15 ml (1 Tbsp) Starch
10 ml (2 Tsp) Vinegar
10 ml (2 Tsp) Glycerin
Add 100 ml of water to a container.
Then mix cold with 15 ml of potato starch.
Add 10 ml of vinegar and then 10 ml of glycerine. continue cold mixing.
Heat and continue mixing at a medium temperature for 3 to 5 minutes until you feel a sticky and thick consistency.
Finally, pour the mixture onto waxed paper or a mold.