The works in engage are interactive and their names, Push Around, Push Through, Roll Up, Step Over and Walk Through encourage us to physically explore them and to experience their smell, sound and surfaces. Physical engagement with them is important for generating our personal readings and responses to the works.
The base materials of any object, its processing and treatment all combine to signify the nature and value of the object on both personal and social levels. Intertwined with the materiality of construction are the historical and cultural associations of the materials. They not only speak of the object’s origins but trigger memories, associations and hint at possibilities and purpose.
In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of responsible design among makers and designers. The use of sustainable materials and the creation of objects which resist obsolescence are issues that some designers and producers are seriously addressing. The works in engage are made from two environmentally benign products, bamboo and recycled car tyres.
Between 3 and 4 million vehicle tyres are discarded in New Zealand annually. Where do they end up, buried or incinerated at the local landfill? The rubber sheeting used in engage is made in Wanganui of recycled shredded tyres and a low-toxicity binding agent.
These works are constructed from Mao bamboo which grows to full maturity in less than 6 years. In comparison, New Zealand Rimu takes hundreds of years to fully mature and doesn’t have the density of Mao bamboo. The bamboo used in engage is grown in controlled plantations and is renewably harvested by a company that has made a strong commitment to environmental preservation.