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Engaging with materiality and colour through biocolourants

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To understand the diverse properties of colours and effects of colourants, it needs to be understood as a material in itself – with an agency of its own. In addition to its visual features, the chemical substances colourants are made of may change and fade over time. They can also impact on the environment and humans in many different and harmful ways, depending on their method of production. Our relationship with colours and the psychological impact colours have may also depend on the physical life cycle of dyes and colourants. How can all of these aspects be given equal value and consideration when we are thinking about colours?

The BioColour research project develops new knowledge, processes and solutions for biocolourant production, characterization and application. These steps are essential for making biocolourants a viable alternative to synthetic colourants. In this context, it is vital to also study the cultural, social and ethical aspects of biocolourants. The project aims to initiate discussions about the current position and wide-spread use of synthetic dyes. While products dyed with biocolourants might fade slightly and their colours may vary, these features could potentially become part of a novel asthetic that appreciates colour more holistically, as an unique and dynamic material feature. Ideally, this would position biocolourants as an obvious, appealing choice and a natural part of a sustainable lifestyle.
Event at Think Corner Helsinki
The BioColour project organizes a broad audience event on Monday August 17th, concentrating on different points of view on materiality and colour. Julia Lohmann, designer and Professor of Practice in Aalto University, is one of the project’s researchers and a speaker in the event. Lohmann’s approach on materials and colours goes well under the surface and bases on participation and co-speculation. She will present public engagement strategies and opportunities based on her practice-based research into natural materials and our relationship with the flora, fauna and ecosystems that sustain us. In addition to Lohmann’s speech on engaging and communicating with materiality and colour, the program features speech by Professor of Conservation Sciences Maarten van Bommel from University of Amsterdam about the non-permanent nature of natural colours applied in cultural heritage objects. Moreover Professor of Home Economics Minna Autio from Helsinki University discusses consumers’ views on packaging, materials and colours and Kai Lankinen, Executive Partner of Marvaco presents technologies increasing sustainability in packaging printing.

provided by www.aalto.fi

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