Origin of things, maker of place: An investigation of birch bark as matter in transformation

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2022
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Fredriksson, Sofia
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Each material comes with an embedded set of historical, cultural and physical attributes. Furthermore, each material has a sourcing place as well as production processes during which it becomes something else. When finally material has become thing, it has often travelled far and with many stops along the way. In the master’s thesis Origin of things, maker of place, a deep dive is made into birch bark in order to explore the attributes and connotations of this material. With the use of an intuitive and iterative method, themes have emerged and formed through collecting and producing information, and the produced information have then generated new impulses. Evoking associations such as nature and culture, forest and city, resource and consumer, affected and affecting, usefulness and uselessness, tradition and creativity, birch bark is both the starting point for exploration and the thematic glue that binds the disparate subjects together. Since birch is a tree native to Sweden and its bark a product of its forests, this thesis can also be read as a comment on the Swedish forest industry. Because of the industry’s vast impact on the landscape it is interesting from a spatial point of view, but furthermore it taps into broader questions concerning what, how and why we produce as a society. The investigations have been reworked into spatial visualisations within a fictional narrative. Through working with the method, the fictional narrative have become centred around the forest and our relationship to it. The narratives were then organised into chapters, where the themes have been brought together and restructured as speculative scenarios with their own designs and architectural structures.
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Birch bark, Forestry, Craft, Fictional narrative
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