Caroline de Roy is a visual artist based in Amsterdam where she graduated from the Rietveld Academy. Caroline’s work is driven by reflections on the fact that individuals do not determine where and how they are born nor choose their mental or physical state, though it determines
For 10 years she created site-specific socially engaged projects with an anthropological approach to the subject matter.
In her free work she uses transparent materials that are functioning like a skin, like a border to a country: tangible yet inaccessible, revealing and at the same time concealing, connecting yet separating.
Being concerned about the worlds enormous waste problem and so far having used mainly non-degradable materials herself she started researching alternative eco-friendly material solutions such as mycelium. An opportunity generously offered by Officina Corpuscoli, University of Utrecht and Mediamatic.
As no thing is meant to last forever, it is interesting to imagine that after a specific time sculptures made of bio-degradable materials can go back to earth, vanish and reappear in a different matter.
about the materials
When the opportunity arose in January 2014 Caroline applied to the open call to research the possibilities of mycelium a joint project of University of Utrecht, Officina Corpuscoli and Mediamatic.
Mycelium the rhizomic network of 'fungal roots' in this case from Schizophyllum Commune a widely available fungus hardly used for consumption.
Researching transparency has led to working with a mutant type of mycelium - ΔSC3 - that does not form hyphae when grown as a floating mat, thus resulting in a transparent/translucent material. The risk of contamination requires specific working conditions generously offered by the University of Utrecht.
From left to right: Fully grown plate of mycelium showing the hyphae. Dried mats still clearly displaying the hyphae. Genetically modified mats - type ΔSC3 - that do not form hyphae when growing. The result is a transparant material.
Organic waste which is not used for compost but is incinerated offers opportunities for developping new materials . Such as orange peel, salvaged from juice machines one finds in many places nowadays.This widely availble raw material calls for experimenting: with or without skin in combination with other natural ingredients such as alginate, psyllium, beeswax, in order to strenghten, thicken the naterial or make it more or less transparent.Other bio-organic waste is also used, expanding the collection skin typologies and antropomorphologies.
A fermented drink known as Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a 'symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The scoby is a microbial cellulose which offers a wirde range of different applications.
See: Bacterial cellulose
The growing method of the cellulose determines the colour and strength.
Growing the cellulose different types of bacterial cellulose
Bore (Alocasia Macrorrhiza)
During an artist-in-residency at ArcApAchA in Colombia in the state of Tolima she worked in a very fertile environment where many different types of plants are growing amongst others fruit and vegetables. Skin peels prove to have an interesting potential for new (transparant) materials, as do leaves and roots.
But her most exiting discovery is Bore, local name for Alocasia macrorrhiza, a plant growing vastly in the jungle, producing very large roots containing a lot of starch. The root is edible but hardly consumed.
The stem with large watering tubes looks like human cells, eyes and lace when dried. The leaves are enormous its skeleton reminiscent of a human torso. The plant grows in tropical areas, originating in Southern India.
Alocasia macrorrhiza, alive and dried. Right: dried stem slices.
skeleton and dried leave reminiscing a human torso.