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Affair with Earth
  -    -  Affair with Earth

Affair with Earth
Dutch Design Week 2019

Exhibition of Ukrainian design and new materials

Eindhoven, Netherlands



Olga Bogdanova

Olena Oranskaia


Dasha Tsapenko


The exhibition shows ways of how Ukrainian artists and designers create, collaborate and challenge/are challenged by Earth and its matters. We are looking on Earth as on a mother, lover, source of Inspiration, associate and partner in crime. At the same time, we adduce the fact of cruel exploitation of its resources. Affair with Earth aims to re-evaluate the meaning of Ukrainian crafts and shifts its mainly outcome-oriented focus to an on-going, process-based critical approach. Sources of materials, local production, sustainability and relationship to fellow non-human companion species become main anchor points.

Ukrainian mythology and traditional pagan rituals, based on equal human-nature co-existence, serve as a kick-off for a new swing of discussion about human-nature co-habitation.

One of the topics is observations and reflections on the Chornobyl phenomena where elks, deer, foxes, wolves, and even Przewalski’s horses, previously considered as disappeared from the area are reappearing in the Exclusion Zone, taking advantage of human absence.

Among the participants, we present a biologist, an entrepreneur, a designer, and a scientist.

An important role in the project plays its spatial scenography. The concept was developed by PROSO atelier in the format of a laboratory. Presented works are exposed on surfaces completely covered by a living green ecosystem. Visitors will have an opportunity to observe how microgreens develop and change. By the end of the project, the grown roots will be used in the production of ecological fur and various experiments.


Valentyn Frechka with Re-leaf paper

Way back in his school years Valentyn understood that it is possible to get cellulose not only from wood but also from leaves. He invented the method how to do it and launched Re-leaf Paper project. It aims to offer a decent alternative to the traditional paper made from wood as well as to solve the problem of fallen leaves in cities.

Despite digitalization in all life aspects, world’s paper consumption is increasing every year. Lots of companies and people have recently switched to paper package instead of plastic to perceive themselves more eco friendly. Frankly, it is a wrong understanding of a sustainable growth and quite a dangerous approach, because mostly paper in the world is made from wood, and forests cannot recover so fast. We need to find an alternative source of cellulose and it can be fallen leaves.

There is a fall period in all geographical regions with temperate climate. The problem of fallen leaves is solved differently in different cities. In Kyiv, for instance, city utilities collect all leaves from streets and parks and just remove them to dumpsites. Sometimes caretakers rake up and burn fallen leaves. It pollutes the air and causes harm to human health and environment. With Re-leaf technology fallen leaves could become not garbage but a valuable resource.

Now Valentyn Frechka is 18 years old. He studies in university and cooperates with Zhytomyr Cardboard Factory where he tests and refines his technology of producing paper from fallen leaves. He aims to launch it on a mass-production level. The inventor is sure that Re-life paper can compete with traditional paper made from wood.

DevoHome with Hemp Fur

DevoHome produces different goods from hemp and has created an alternative to natural artificial fur.

Hemp plant has some unique qualities. Neither pesticide nor herbicide is needed for it to be planted. Hemp is double cropping and it demands 75% less water than cotton and absorbs four times more CO2 than most trees. Hemp Fur is produced from hemp fibre of plants which were grown in pristine area in Poltava Oblast.

Hemp Fur is smooth to the touch, natural, hypoallergenic, warm and tough material. No animal has to be killed for its production. Also, hemp fur is not a potential source of microplastics in contrast with faux fur.

Yuriy Ryntovt with furniture facade Terra

A founder of Ryntovt Design Studio has been creating furniture with remarkable eco focus for about 25 years. In his Terra project, a designer elevates and rotates the horizontal surface of the soil into a vertical position to look it into its face and touch its wrinkles. Yuriy Ryntovt has created the original surface with chernozem in its base to use it on facades of his furniture collection.

The idea of the project is an anthem to Earth. “We feel happiness when working with soil. Same primitive happiness, which locals who were working on the land felt when they saw its ability to revive year after year. They appreciated its living miracle, from the first sprouts to a plentiful harvest. We feel

almost physical pain from the way people treat nature with disrespect and disregard. People no longer treat soil as a shrine unlike they used to before industrial age”.

Dasha Tsapenko with the project-manifest Growing Fur

The designer who graduated from the famous Eindhoven Design Academy a few years ago created live fur from sprouted chia seeds. The idea of the project is to rethink the place of clothes in our lives and to change our ways of interaction with it. The designer offers us a totally new approach instead of thoughtless consumption.

Imagine a raincoat or a dress which you plant as a living creature, you take care of it and walk it outside when it rains in order to keep it living. Such a new concept questions a common position of humans as a center of ecosystem and provokes to reconsider their new place in the world.

The material created on the base of chia roots and sprouts is not a ready product. Currently Dasha develops her project and tests characteristics and possible applications of the Growing Fur.

The Chernobyl Spirit Company with the project-reseach Atomik vodka

In this project a team of Ukrainian and British scientists studied agricultural possibility in the Zone of Obligatory Resettlement which became radioactive after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A professor of Environmental Science at Portsmouth University Jim Smith, a head of the Radiometric Laboratory at the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute and a Chernobyl “liquidator” Gennady Laptev, a geologist and radiochemist currently completing his PhD at the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute Kyrylo Korychensky work on Atomik project in their spare time along with their science studies.

They used crops grown in the Chernobyl Zone and contaminated with radioactive strontium-90 to produce the experimental Atomik vodka. As they found out distillation removed most impurities and radiation from the drink and made it safe for consumption. In the ready drink only a trace of carbon-14 can be found but its concentration is no higher than in any other alcoholic beverage. The distilled alcohol was diluted with mineral water from the deep aquifer below the town of Chernobyl about 10 km south to the nuclear power station. It happened to be pure water with no traces of radioactive

contamination and its chemical characteristics are similar to those of ground waters in the Champagne region of France.

The project proves that more than thirty years after the Chernobyl disaster land in the Exclusion Zone can now be used to produce crops which are safe to consume. Atomik’s creators aim to involve locals who live in the Zone of Obligatory Resettlement and suffer from unemployment. 75% of profits from Atomik sales will go to support communities in the affected areas and wildlife conservation.